The floodgates opened in the skies and on the field for the top-seeded Corinth Holders boys soccer team at the start of the second half of Wednesday’s first-round state playoff game.
After leading No. 32 seed West Brunswick by a pair of goals at halftime, the undefeated Pirates struck four times in a 17-minute span to gain a decisive advantage. Three more goals brought the scoreline to 9-0 and ended the rain-soaked game in the 75th minute by mercy rule.
With the win, the Pirates advanced to host No. 17 Richlands (5-3 winners over No. 16 Eastern Alamance on Tuesday) in the second round of the NCHSAA 3A playoffs on Saturday.
Corinth Holders coach Brent Walston lauded his team’s performance in the second frame.
“Our focus at halftime was (to) get the first goal, put the pressure on them,” Walston said. “Then we got the next one, and the next one, so early in the second half that was the difference.”
Grant Austin, Pedro Segundo and Logan Biethman each scored twice for the host Pirates (20-0), with Alan Landeros, Brady Best and Jackson Creech also adding goals. The Trojans kept the score competitive despite being outshot 15-2 in the first half, but conceded seven goals in the second half on just 10 shots by Corinth Holders.
Segundo provided the sought-after third goal when his low shot found the bottom right corner of the net in the 43rd minute. A breakaway goal from Austin in the 52nd minute and a clinical penalty kick from Best in the 55th quickly extended the lead to a comfortable margin.
The early stages of the match proved relatively balanced, with both teams gaining some offensive possession but failing to produce many quality scoring chances.
“We had a great regular season; (I) did not know how we would approach being the No. 1 seed,” Walston said. “West Brunswick ... made us change some things a little bit and we countered.”
Landeros opened the scoring in the 17th minute after his sailing shot from near midfield dropped into the top of the net. Segundo doubled the lead in the 25th minute when his line drive shot was partially blocked, but bounced into the goal.
Two goals from Biethman in a four-minute span necessitated the nine-goal mercy rule in the 75th.
“We’ve been a team that’s been able to score in bunches, and we did that in the second half,” said Walston.