Pioneer soccer coach Kevin Taylor didn’t wait long to tell his players that one win doesn’t define you in the postseason – it only puts you in position to win more.
“This was a nice win but it’s just one win,” he told his players immediately after they knocked off host Howell 3-0 in a District semifinal soccer game. “It takes two wins to accomplish what we want this week.”
The second win won’t be easy – but we will get to that.
First, the first win.
Taylor has been seeing glimpses leading up to their District opener of putting it all together. He saw firsthand what that looks like against Howell.
“We finally saw a complete performance,” he said. “We have been playing well and more importantly getting better. We have a young group and it’s been a learning process. Hopefully, it’s the time of year it comes together and we get rolling.”
To keep it rolling Pioneer will have to knock off Brighton, something their talented crosstown rival Skyline couldn’t do in the earlier semifinal game on Wednesday. The Bulldogs knocked off No.1 ranked Skyline 2-1 to advance to the championship game.
Pioneer will meet Brighton at 5 p.m. on Friday at Howell.
“We watched them play and they’re good,” Taylor said. “If you can score two goals on Skyline you are a good side. We have to be ready to go.”
They were ready to go on Wednesday, scoring three goals for the first time this season. Maybe they saved their offensive firepower for the postseason.
Austin Jacobs got the Pioneers rolling. The sophomore beat a Howell player to the ball about 35 yards from the goal when he saw the Howell keeper way out of the net. There is a time when a goalie starts to come out where he has to decide whether to keep coming or stay home. Jacobs caught the Howell goalie right at that point and lofted a high arcing shot way over his head that bounced a few times before landing in the open net.
Jacobs’ goal made it 1-0 at the 33:43 mark of the first half.
Taylor said that first goal was a huge confidence builder.
“We don’t do well when we start off playing from behind so that first goal was huge,” he said. “Falling behind is a huge mountain to climb for a young team so I’m glad we were able to get the lead early. And then build on it.”
Pioneer scored again at 23:56 to make it 2-0 on a goal by Jonah Gutenberg.
“It was a simple ball played in to the back post and we just beat them to the spot,” Taylor said. “He got a simple tap-in from about five yards.”
With 19:17 to play in the game, senior William Dormer positioned himself in the right spot at the right time to knock in a ball from about five yards out to push the Pioneer lead to 3-0 and all but end the night for the Highlanders.