Pontotoc started quickly, and despite a strong showing in the second half, New Albany was unable to overcome the early deficit, falling 6-4, in the second round of the 4A soccer playoffs.
Less than 10 minutes into the match, Rafael Vidana had the Warriors ahead, 2-0, but Anthony Fernandez cut that lead to one in the 15th minute. Pontotoc scored three more times before the end of the half, Vidana scoring once more, along with Luke Littlejohn and Diego Pizarro.
Coming out of the half, Fernandez scored his second goal on a header from a corner kick. Zachary McDonald added to that in the 17th minute, making it 5-3.
Less than two minutes later, Vidana scored his fourth goal, taking the momentum to the Bulldogs. Eathen Rainey scored later in the half for the Bulldogs.
“After coming off a win like we had at Germantown on Tuesday, the boys came out a little flat,” New Albany coach Caryl Vogel said. “We were down 5-1 at the half, and we had to remind them what it took for us to win on Tuesday (at Germantown). That victory wasn’t handed to us, it was earned. We came out in the second half and played a lot better, scoring three goals. That first half let us down.”
The loss ends the Bulldogs’ season, which was highlighted by Fernandez, who scored close to 50 goals this year.
“He’s been amazing all season,” Vogel said. “He’s had over 46 or 47 goals this season, and we’ve run a 4-5-1, which means he’s up top by himself. Most times you put that in your system, you’re not going to score many goals, but with the team we had, he was able to create and score goals himself. To be able to rack up that many goals in that type of system, you don’t see that very often. It’s very special.”
The Bulldogs end the season at 10-10.