LUMBERTON — The winless streak for the Purnell Swett girls soccer team against Lumberton started well before sophomore forward Abi Lowry came on as a goal-scoring machine for the Lady Rams, but she wanted to see it end on her watch.
Ever since the program was started in 2006, the Lady Rams had failed to beat the Lady Pirates, but that changed on Wednesday night in a 2-1 Purnell Swett road victory to move to fourth place in the Sandhills Athletic Conference
“It’s a good feeling. These girls earned that victory, especially this core group the last three years,” Purnell Swett coach Alaric Strickland said. “It was something we’ve been striving for. Lumberton set the standard in this county and we are just trying to get there and keep that standard.
“We finished our chances and the girls knew the last time we let the chance slip away. They knew they had to take advantage of it.”
The top four teams in the conference standings are almost locks for playoffs seeds based on the new seeding procedure.
To snap the streak, Purnell Swett (9-7, 5-7 SAC) needed a late goal from Lowry, the 46th of her short career, and an assist as well.
Much like the first meeting it had with Lumberton (7-9-1, 4-7-1 SAC), the Lady Rams controlled the offensive flow early in the match, but failed to break through in the first 30 minutes of the contest. Unlike the last meeting — a 1-0 Lady Pirate win behind a second-half goal — Purnell Swett found the back of the net in the closing minutes of the first half as Lowry dribbled down the sideline and fed the ball to Tala Lowry, whose high curving shot from the top of the box beat Emma Barnes in goal.
“That made me happy because I really wanted her to get one off this team,” Abi Lowry said of the Tala’s goal. “I was extremely happy and I felt like we deserved that.”
Lumberton didn’t go into the halftime break quietly as it tied the scored up at 1-all when Brittany Ward maneuvered through the defense to score in the final minute of the half.
After playing a little conservatively in the first meeting, the Lady Pirates were much more offensive-minded in the second match against its rivals.
“On our home field, we told the girls in the locker room that we’re not sitting back tonight,” Lumberton coach Kenny Simmons said. “We’re going to try and attack and take it to them a little bit, and it was a back-and-forth game.”
Twice in the second half, Abi Lowry made runs at the Lumberton goal, all while being marked by junior defender Logan Cameron for the final 40 minutes. Near the midway point of the second half, Lowry broke free and before collecting the ball to put a seemingly open shot on goal, Courtlyn McLellan stepped in and halted the advance. Ten minutes later the Lady Pirates weren’t so lucky when the same situation came and Lowry broke free in the box to beat Barnes with a hard rolling shot to the far post.
“I just thought of what my daddy said, ‘It don’t matter if they got three or four people marking you, it doesn’t matter you just got to go,’” Lowry said.
Both teams will close the regular season out with back-to-back matches against the same opponent. Purnell Swett will travel to Hoke today and then come home on Friday, while Lumberton hosts Scotland today and goes to Laurinburg on Friday.
Two homers lead Fairmont past Red Springs
RED SPRINGS — The Fairmont softball team launched a pair of homers in a 14-2 win at Red Springs on Wednesday.
The Lady Golden Tornadoes (12-9, 8-7 TRC) scored eight runs combined in the second and third innings to take control of the game early. Kaylee McMillan struck out seven in the win for Fairmont.
Amber Hunt and Mya Hunt both hit home runs in the victory, with Amber plating three runs and Mya adding two. Mya Strickland, Kaitlyn Hunt and Constance Oxendine each had one hit for Fairmont as well.
Kiera Bryant, Jalexis Bratcher and Katelyn Culbreth each had hit for Red Springs (4-17, 2-15 TRC)
Red Devils get revenge from Fairmont
RED SPRINGS — Darren Bowen held the Fairmont baseball team five hits in a 3-1 win for Red Springs at home.
Bowen picked up the win and 12 strikeouts in the win and out-duel Fairmont’s Randy Floyd. Floyd allowed six hits and had eight strikeouts.
The Red Devils struck first in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by Colton Locklear, and then scored two runs in the third inning on a Gabriel Locklear triple and an Oliver Brooks RBI groundout.
Jayshawn Carthen, Jaylen Mack, Jordan Locklear and Jeritt Taylor each added a hit as well.
Fairmont scored its only run in the second inning on a Marcus Ransom RBI triple. Ransom had two hits to lead the Golden Tornadoes.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.