Pisgah soccer finding its identity

Mar. 17—CANTON — To the casual fan, Pisgah's varsity girls soccer team's record — 1-5-1 so far this season — may raise questions and even concern.

The losses included a 5-0 loss to Brevard, a 3-0 loss to Enka, a 1-0 loss to North Buncombe and two 9-0 losses to Asheville.

Head coach Joe Pinkston said the losses are on him.

"I wasn't sure how this team should play," he said. "We were changing a lot up in the early games. It was important for us to figure out how we're playing and what our style is."

The Lady Bears lost four talented seniors from last season's historic run, during which the team won a school-record 17 games and secured a playoff berth.

"It's easy to say we only lost four players, but all four, at least for the last three years, played every minute they were healthy or were so tired they couldn't move," Pinkston said. "They're very good players, but that doesn't mean we don't have the skill to replace them. But you do have to learn to play without something you've had your whole career."

Despite the early season losses, Pinkston believes the team is getting better everyday.

"We've started figuring out our identity," he said. "We've always been built on defense, even if we were high-scoring. We have a lot of speed, but speed didn't pay off, so we shuffled."

Pinkston said the team's identity reflects the town of Canton.

"We're tough, we take whatever you throw at us and we play our game," he said. "We're playing together, not relying on one person. We're balanced. It really is a lot of heart."

That balance and heart contributed to a 2-2 tie with Mountain 7 Conference foe Smoky Mountain on Monday, March 13, and a 2-1 victory over Owen on Wednesday, March 15.

"We were up 1-0 on Owen, and with five minutes to go we gave up a goal," Pinkston said. "It's easy to say, 'There's another tie.' You could see our scores and record and forgive us for just taking a tie."

Instead, the girls scored a game-winning goal with under one minute left.

"That's how the people of Canton are and that's part of the DNA of every athlete around here," Pinkston said.

Pisgah plays Highlands at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 17, Franklin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22 and hosts Highlands at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24.