LUMBERTON — From a defensive standpoint, Lumberton boys soccer team didn’t have many flaws in the first half of its 4-0 loss to Pinecrest on Wednesday.
In the first 40 minutes, the Pirates crowded the center lane in front of the net and simply refused to give up an easy look, turning away set-piece plays and forcing the perennial conference powerhouse to take shots from bad angles.
It was the second half that hurt as the Pirates showed some cracks in the defense, which Pinecrest seized on to score three goals in the conference opener for both teams.
“It was a good game for a half and then they wore us down a little bit,” said Lumberton coach Kenny Simmons. “When you chase the game as long as we had to chase it, it’s going to wear these guys down, and it did a little bit in the second half. We lost our legs a bit out there.”
It was the looks from those weary legs that made the difference. Instead of long shots from the sides, the Patriots offense found looks from the center of the field that they didn’t have in the previous half.
Eight minutes into the half, Pinecrest’s Michael Phelps swam into the right side of the box and took a pass from a few feet away on the left. As the goalie rushed him, he kicked it to the right to make it 2-0.
10 minutes later, the Patriots scored again on a shot by Gerardo Peraza from the 16-yard line to make it 3-0. They rounded out the scoring in the final four minutes when Hunter Hawes headed in a long cross from the left side.
Pinecrest finished the half with nine shots on goal in the half.
It was a far cry from earlier in the game when Pinecrest put six shots on net, but had limited threats. Simmons said he felt his team only gave up one truly good shot, which was blocked by goalie Ricardo Leal.
Some seemingly easy looks were also stopped by defenders who deflected shots at the line, including one from Bradley Burnette in the first eight minutes.
“We defended well. You can’t ask for anything more defensively than what we did in the first half,” Simmons said.
Hampered by the Lumberton defense, the Patriots didn’t score until 38 minutes in, when Stephen Sawyer hit a shot from the far right corner of the box that slid just under the crossbar.
The Pirates struggled to maintain possession and only had eight shots on goal in the game, nearly half from set-piece plays including long throw ins. Forward Colby Johnson found numerous runs and had a chance to tie the game eight minutes in the second half but missed right.
“Playing a team of this quality, chances are going to come few and far between,” Simmons said. “You’ve got to capitalize when you can.”
Purnell Swett soccer falls to Scotland
PEMBROKE —The Purnell Swett soccer team struggled in the second half of a 4-0 loss to Scotland in its SEC opener.
The Rams allowed three second-half goals despite the Scots playing a man down.
“It’s conference play now,” Purnell Swett coach Alaric Strickland said. “We’ve struggled in the past in conference play and these kids have a little more experience than us.”
The Scots controlled possession from the opening whistle and got their first breakthrough 13 minutes in when Afiz Lateef hit a free kick from outside the box.
Scotland was forced to play a man short after a player recieved his second yellow with eight seconds left in the first half. Rather than dropping back, Scotland pressed the attack. The Scots had goals from Kytel Collins-Jackson, Brandon Beckwith and Andrew Locklear in the half.
The majority of Swett’s chances came from free kicks, including one in the first half that hit the crossbar before landing just outside the goal. Joseph Velasquez threatened all night with his speed, but defender Daniel Johnson caught up on his break away chances.
Fairmont volleyball sweeps Whiteville
FAIRMONT — The Fairmont volleyball team remained perfect in conference play Tuesday with a 25-9, 25-19, 25-9 sweep of Whiteville on Tuesday.
Christa Thorndyke led the Golden Tornadoes (8-1, 5-0 TRC) with 25 assists and Marsha Clewis contributed nine kills. Niya Dickens finished with 15 digs.
Whiteville won the JV match 2-0.
Fairmont wins cross country meet
LUMBERTON — Fairmont’s cross country team scored 42 points to win the team championship at a cross country meet at Luther Britt Park.
The Golden Tornadoes had five runners finish in the top 12 of the meet, led by Jamison Locklear, who took second. Malik Milton and Charles Hammonds finished eighth and ninth, and Austin Wilcox and Julian Massey took 11th and 12th.
South Robeson took second with 49 points and had two runners in the top five. Dilly Jones won the race and Austin Hunt took fourth. Red Springs took third at the meet with 62 points and Whiteville had 92.