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Soccer Jackets are playoff bound

The Jackets and Woodville game started at a slow pace and Woodville surprised the Jackets with a quick transition that ended in a save from keeper Audiel Plascencia.
The Jackets finally had a few shots that were wide or not close. The game took a turn for the worse for the Jackets when the Wolverines took the lead in the 15th minute after a big mistake from the Jacket’s keeper.
The Wolverines had another shot that wide wide and a free kick the Jackets’ keeper dove for a great save. After that, the Jackets started to pick up the intensity and rhythm of the game.
With a great assist from Darian Cortez, Pablo Tapia opened up the goal count for the Jackets with a solid shot 1v1 against the keeper in the 23rd minute. The Jackets took control of the second half with that goal. They gained possession and created more scoring opportunities. The score board changed again in favor of the Jackets in the 27th minute with the same combination of Cortez assisting Tapia for his 2nd score of the night.
Two minutes later, the Jackets put another goal in the back of the net after an incredible shot outside the 18th. The ball curled into the back of the net after a superb shot from Justin Aguirre who finally scored after a few scoreless games. This put the Jackets in the lead 3-1 after a fine display of futbol. The first half ended with the Jackets scoring one more goal after a failure to clear the ball correctly from the goalie and Woodville defensive. The ball rebounded off Ivan Franco and bounced into the back of the net without anyone expecting it in the last 5 minutes of the half. That ended the half with a comfortable lead for the Jackets.
In the 2nd half, Woodville came out pressing the Jackets high which the Jackets were able to contain for the first few minutes. Woodville striker received a big ball from the midfield that ended up in an excellent run and tap in that ended up in the back of the net. The score was 4-2 with Woodville pressing high and having the desire to come back. Woodville had many opportunities but nothing major enough to make the Jackets’ keeper uncomfortable. Woodville made a final push after a penalty was awarded. Woodville failed to convert the penalty which saw them struggle into the last minutes of the game. The Jackets finally settled in again 15 minutes before it was over with a few shots that went far from the goal. The Jackets finally put a halt to any hopes of the Wolverines comeback with a late goal from Cortez after a punt from the Jackets’ keeper that Woodville keeper failed to handle. The win kept the Jackets #1 in the region.
The rivalry between Jackets and Vidalia was set at home. This time the Pinelands were packed and the fans could be heard loud and clear. With the night being senior night, all Jacket supporters were ready to witness a playoff caliber game against a great Vidalia team. With both teams needing to win, one to secure a playoff spot and the other to try and secure #1 seed, both teams knew losing was not an option.
The first half started as expected with both teams pressing high. Vidalia had the first goal scoring opportunity with a cross Jacket’s defense was not able to clear but Vidalia’s shot hit the crossbar. The Jackets responded with a shot that went wide.
Vidalia had another shot go over the crossbar. As the first half was running out of time, the chance of seeing a goal seemed to run out. Vidalia had a dangerous cross that keeper Plascenia saved. After that, the Jackets had a quick transition where Aguirre took a shot the Vidalia goalkeeper could not handle and give a rebound. Omar Andablo crossed the ball back in where Cortez challenges the keeper and won the ball with a header to score the Jackets’ first goal. The 32nd minute goal scored by Darian was the start of a goal scoring frenzy for both teams. Not even 2 minutes later, Vidalia responded with an out of the box shot that rebounded off a Jackets’ defender and landed in the back of the net. Just like that, it was tied 1-1. The half ended tied.
As the 2nd half started, the Jackets were awarded their first corner of the game. All the offense went into the box for a header but the Vidalia defense clear the ball the first time around. Jackets’ midfielder, Ariel Maldonado, recovered the rebound and sent a precise cross to Cortez where all he had to do was put his head on it in the 51st minute. The stands went crazy as the Jackets were looking for a big win and to make a huge statement in the region.
Vidalia scored one more goal after a big mistake by the defense on a throw-in from Vidalia. The game was tied 2-2 with less than 15 minutes to go. Three minutes later Maldonado received the ball 15 yards outside of the 18 and took the most spectacular shot that zoomed past the keeper in the 65th minute. The Jackets ended the game with a solid defense Vidalia was not able to break. The Jackets won this game and locked in the playoffs for another year. With an incredible game, the Pinelands ended the regional season with a winning record and at the same time beating Vidalia on senior night.
Player of the Week: Ariel Maldonado with an assist and a spectacular goal against Vidalia to seal the win.

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