Pioneers' soccer team blanks Freedom
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
They celebrated in style when they closed out the regular season with a 3-0 win over Freedom at cold and windy Jack Groce Stadium.
The Pioneers, who snapped a two-game losing streak, finished with a 16-4-1 overall record, 9-4-1 in the Northwestern Conference. Watauga begins the state 4-A playoffs next week.
"It was a great Senior Night for us," Pioneers coach Woody McKay said. "It was among the best two or three games we've played all season. It was nice to see all the seniors play so well."
Freedom, which had a chance to win the NWC title before Monday, ended its season on a two-game losing skid. The Patriots, who also had a tie before losing two straight games, finished the regular season with a 14-3-2, 9-3-2.
It was the first time Freedom was shut out all season. It was also the first time the Patriots lost by more than one goal.
Watauga scored all of its goals in the first half with the wind blowing at the Freedom goal. The Pioneers got their first goal from Logan Raichle, who got an assist from Justin Hall. Raichle scored the goal minutes after a Freedom shot hit the goalpost of Watauga's goal.
"Justin juked a guy completely and then got the ball to Logan," McKay said.
The Pioneers made it 2-0 when Canyon Mueller scored with 18:16 left in the first half with an assist from Raichle Mueller got the ball on the left flank and worked his way into scoring position before taking a shot at the Patriots' goal.
Hunter Martin made it 3-0 by scoring just before halftime.
Neither team scored in a second half that Watauga managed to maintain its share of possession time despite playing in a gusty wind. The temperature at kickoff was 40 degrees, and 37 degrees when the game was over.
Snow also fell during the first half, but did not accumulate.
"The wind affected things tremendously," McKay said. "We had the wind in the first half and that kept everything going toward their goal. The wind was as strong in the second half, so we had to defend against them and we did well against them."McKay did not know who the Pioneers would play, saying he'll find out Monday when the pairing are announced