Heritage Christian defends home in first round of playoffs

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Kayla Kinter (#12 black) scores two goals in Heritage Christian Warriors victory over Pioneer Titans

On Monday, February 6, 2023, the Pioneer Titans made the commute of about an hour to play against the Heritage Christian Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. The Titans did not shy away from the pressure of not playing at home. As the game came to a close the Warriors learned the importance of playing their style of football. The hosts were brilliant in the final minutes of the game, and came away with a 3-2 victory.

The game was even for the first thirty minutes of the first half. After scoring a goal off a corner, the Titans were in control despite not creating many chances in the first half. The Pioneer Titans and Heritage Christian Warriors showed great sportsmanship in the first half, but the attitude and intensity of the game would shift in the second half. After both teams received direction and instruction from their coaching staffs, the second half began with Heritage Christian scoring a goal from Captain #7 Mariah Kendrick, who took a shot from inside the box, giving a spark of life to the home crowd.

The remainder of the second half was a battle for control of the midfield between the Titans and the Warriors. Both teams played well defensively and were organized to the best of their abilities. After failing to win one-on-one battles in the first half, Heritage Christian began to seize these opportunities. A mistake from Heritage on a kickoff would give the Pioneers the upper hand and a 2-1 lead early in the second half. Unfortunately, the Titans wasted the goal advantage by allowing the Warriors back into the game.

With fifteen minutes left in the game, the Warriors began using their size and physicality to control the game. They began to take advantage of more one-on-one opportunities. Chances were created by the Warriors' wingers, who dribbled down the flanks. The midfield began winning balls in the air. The momentum shifted to Heritage Christian, who created important set-piece chances and corners.

Freshmen #12 Kayla Kinter took a corner kick and scored directly from the corner, giving the Heritage Christian Warriors a spark of hope and momentum. In the final two minutes, the Warriors got a foul outside the box, which was made by Kinter. Freshman Goalkeeper Sophia German made two important saves in the final two minutes. one from a free kick and the other off a corner. Sophia’s saves would secure the victory for the hosts. The final score was Pioneer 2 and Heritage Christian 3.

The Heritage Christian Warriors head into the next round of the playoffs with confidence. Heritage will be facing Oakwood in an away game on Wednesday February 8. Kinter believes they played well and encouraged her teammates, "Let’s continue doing what we are doing." Coach Oliquer Olivar believes the girls can make a deep run in the playoffs if they continue to focus on their strengths. "After analyzing our game, during the half, we started focusing on possession." Coach Oliquer believes that Heritage is at its best when they play their style of football, which revolves around possession. Kick-off for Wednesday’s contest is at 3:00 pm.

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