INDIAN LAND — A 4-0 shutout over visiting Pendleton earned Indian Land High’s boys’ soccer team another home match – and a chance to win the 2A Upper State title.
The Warriors (18-4) host Ninety Six Tuesday (the match was played after press time; for results, go to www.fortmilltimes.com) with the winner moving on to the state title match.
Saturday’s win over Pendleton was the latest in a string of impressive postseason play.
An email last week lit a fire in top-seeded Indian Land as the Warriors trounced Landrum 6-1 in the second round of the AA boys’ soccer playoffs.
Warriors head coach Adam Cole said the head coach of Pendleton High School contacted him Wednesday to ask when his team and Indian Land would like to play on Saturday for the third round – before either team had won its second-round matchups.
“It’s good that he has a little of that overconfidence,” Cole said. “We’re hoping that we can use that against him on Saturday.”
But before Cole and his Warriors could think about a weekend game, they had to focus on taking care of visiting Landrum last Thursday.
In the fourth minute of the match, the Cardinals’ Mark Connor knocked down a long crossing pass and finished with a shot past Indian Land goalkeeper Trevor Hoxworth.
Things weren’t getting much better when captain Anthony Cutrone shanked a penalty high and wide right just moments later. Cutrone says the atmosphere from that miss fuelled him to improve his game.
“I was a little scared when they scored first and the fans were yelling at me when I took the penalty,” he said. “It really pissed me off to miss, but I used it to pump me up.”
At the 15 minute mark, Indian Land captain Anthony Cutrone scored the equalizer. Six minutes later, Warriors’ teammate Garrett Gerdes juked a defender and beat the Landrum stopper for a 2-1 advantage.
Indian Land secured Thursday’s win with a strong finish to the first half.
Jake Retter and brother Nick tallied scores eight minutes apart. Jake scored on a 40-yard chip. Nick Retter followed with a goal on a free kick from a tough angle.
Cole rested many of his starters in the second half, but not before Zac Patterson capitalized on a Landrum mix-up in the back 30 seconds after play restarted.
Cutrone scored his second of the night, tapping home from six yards after a nifty play from winger Nick Retter.
“All of the other teams are trying to get to us,” Cutrone said. “It was definitely a pretty good game for us, and we’re going to get better.”
Cole said his team must find the next gear as they find themselves going deeper into the state playoffs, with the potential for a rematch against Academic Magnet High School, which beat Indian Land last May in the AA championship game.
“These boys have a way of stepping up and competing with the better teams,” Cole said. “Ever since that loss last year, the boys got in and started training real hard in the offseason and they want revenge.”