RED SPRINGS — St. Pauls girls soccer coach Brent Martin said after Tuesday’s game at Red Springs that both teams had a chance to win the game with their scoring chances late.
But instead of those opportunities ending with goals, they were stopped by the opposing defense that stole the show in a 1-1 tie between the two in-county rivals in the Three Rivers Conference meeting.
“There were a lot of chances for both teams. This game should have been won by either us or them,” he said. “It should have been, but neither team was able to maintain their composure in the final third to finish it out.”
The scoring came in the second half of regulation, but the defense for both were the deciding factors. St. Pauls (3-3-2, 3-3-1 TRC) threatened for much of the game with several good scoring opportunities and more than five corner kicks that it was unable to convert.
Anchoring the Red Springs (2-6-2, 1-4-1 TRC) defense was seniors Dafne Meneses and Gabby Pecina. After a game with more than 15 save between the pipes against East Bladen, Pecina followed up by allowing just one goal with another strong outing against the Lady Bulldogs.
“(Meneses) is one of the smallest players on the team, and easily one of the best players and the toughest defender I’ve ever seen, boys or girls,” Red Springs coach Travis Wilson said. “She kept us alive back there. They were making run after run and long ball after long ball and we just kept clearing it out of there.”
Meneses was a terror for the Lady Bulldogs’ attack, keeping a close eye on speedy forward Madai Hernandez, and not allowing her much room to operate, expect on one occasion.
“She was a very speedy sweeper, who was able to keep pace with Madai and sweep the ball to the outside most of the time,” Martin said. “Their defense negated one of our biggest strengths.”
The one moment that Hernandez was able to break free, she made the Lady Red Devils pay with a goal she blooped over the head of Pecina in the 70th minute to tie the game. Her goal was a response from Red Springs’ goal early in the second half when Wendy Molina beat the St. Pauls keeper on a penalty kick at the 47-minute mark.
Molina, who is still on the mend from an injury earlier this season, operated the Lady Red Devils’ offense on the attacks it was able to string together with her quick moves and sure foot. After halftime an adjustment led to a more offensive-minded look for Red Springs.
“I brought the two forwards back to the midfield and had one of my holding midfielders to attack more,” Wilson said. “We knew what to do, we were just really nervous in the first half and we had to settle down at halftime and made the adjustment.”
In other county soccer action, Lumberton lost on the road at Jack Britt by a 2-0 decision after allowing a pair of first-half goals.
Rams demolish Seventy-First
FAYETTEVILLE — After claiming a pair of wins in the Robeson County Slugfest, the Purnell Swett baseball team carried over its momentum with a 23-0 win in three innings on the road at Seventy-First.
The Rams plated 18 runs in the third inning of the blowout victory after Dakota Locklear allowed two hits and struck out five in his two innings on the mound.
Noah Evington went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Braydon Scott had two hits and two RBIs and two hits each came from Trevon Locklear and Chandler Brayboy.
Purnell Swett has no trouble with Lady Falcons
FAYETTEVILLE — The Purnell Swett softball team topped Seventy-First in a 22-0 Sandhills Athletic Conference road win.
Kaitlyn Hunt had a three-run triple, while Magan Barton and Madison Strickland both had two hits and two RBIs each. Katlyn Jones had a double with two RBIs. JaiLeana Deese earned the win in the circle.
Richmond takes two shutouts against Pirates
ROCKINGHAM —The bats were quiet for the Lumberton softball and baseball teams at Richmond on Tuesday as both squads combined for one hit and no runs in a pair of losses in their Sandhills Athletic Conference contests.
In the baseball game, Lumberton lost 5-0 as Trey Watkins and Drew Loving combined for a no-hitter for the Raiders. Parks Ledwell took the loss for the Pirates and only gave up a pair of hits during his time on the mound.
The rematch of the two teams that were in the conference championship game last year was a complete opposite result as Greyson Way and Richmond won 13-0 in five innings over Lumberton.
Wey allowed one hit in five innings after the Lady Raiders hung nine runs up in the bottom of the first inning. Ariel Allbrooks had the lone hit in the fifth inning for Lumberton.
In other scores from around the county, the Red Springs baseball team earned an 8-5 win over West Bladen and West Bladen won in softball over Red Springs 18-8.
Pirates, Rams fall on the courts
LUMBERTON — The Pinecrest boys tennis team earned a 7-2 road victory over Lumberton on Tuesday, winning five of the six singles matches.
The lone singles win for the Pirates came from Bill Davis with a two-set win over Rashon Hyslop. The doubles team of Connor Kinlaw and C.J. Nemeroff won 8-3 for the other win for the Pirates.
Purnell Swett fell at Jack Britt, 6-3. Ben Brooks and Pacey Brooks both picked up singles wins for the Rams.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.