HOBE SOUND — After an exodus of talented seniors from last year’s 2A state championship winning team, Pine School got their playoff run going this season off to the right foot thanks to the next wave of senior standouts.
Four goals from center-back Julian Restrepo and a pair each from Dakota Schrein and Jaxon McAlees sent the Knights to an 8-0 victory over Oviedo Master’s Academy Wednesday in a 2-2A quarterfinal.
As the region’s top seed, the scoreline that Pine School produced may look like they made it easy but the eight-seed Eagles didn’t back down from the defending state champs early.
McAlees broke the ice slotting home a shot into the back of a net off a scramble in the box eight minutes in but Master’s Academy buckled down playing physically and not allowing much freedom for Pine’s playmakers for an extended period of the first half.
In the 28th minute, McAlees was at the double as he received the ball on the far side of goal and drilled a low shot that beat the Eagle keeper at his far post to increase the Knights’ lead.
Three minutes before halftime, Restrepo rose highest to a cross swung in by senior Henry Alexandrescu to net Pine School’s third goal of the half that stood as the halftime margin.
Eight minutes into the second half, Restrepo again scored on a header getting on the end of a corner kick from McAlees and a minute later McAlees set up Schrein on a perfect through-ball down the center of the Eagle defense that was tucked away for a goal.
Schrein booted home his second of the match in the 53rd minute, lifting a loose ball in the box into the upper-90 to the keeper’s right to make it 6-0.
Restrepo thundered home a deflected pass right in front of goal for his hat trick in the 64th minute and right before the end of regulation time ended the game early with his fourth of the match for the Knights (10-3-2).
As one of the leaders from last year’s team, Restrepo believes that a tougher regular season schedule has prepared a different cast around him to be ready to jump on teams in a win-or-go-home situation as Wednesday was.
“We bumped up our schedule from last year and took a couple losses on the road and I think from that coming back into the playoffs with these knockout games has made us stronger,” Restrepo said. “It’s made us focus more on getting out of the blocks early and setting the tempo to show why we deserved to be the top seed in the region heading into the rest of our games.”
Pine School will await the winner of Foundation Academy and Circle Christian, the No. 4 and 5 seeds in the region, who play Wednesday evening and the Knights will host the regional semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday.