LUMBERTON — The Fighting Scots soccer team saw its regular season come to an end Tuesday in the first round of the Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament.
The No. 6 ranked Scots traveled to Lumberton to play the No. 3 Pirates in the opening round. It was a one-goal match through the first half as Lumberton led 3-2 at the break.
Lumberton’s Christian Santos scored the game’s first goal in the sixth minute of play to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. The Pirates’ Josh Britt extended Lumberton’s lead to 2-0 in the 10th minute of play with another goal.
The Fighting Scots responded with a goal on a free kick following a Lumberton penalty on senior Nyjel Collins-Jackson. The Scots senior found the back of the net to make it a 2-1 Lumberton match with just over 23 minutes left to play in the half.
Scots goalie Aubrey Graham kept his team in the match with a difficult save with three Lumberton players in the box. The Scots offense responded with a goal by senior Tripp Wells, off an assist by Collins-Jackson to tie the game 2-2 in the 25th minute of play.
Lumberton regained the lead three minutes later with a goal by the speedy Rene Altamirano. Down 3-2 the Scots offense continued to fight as junior Hunter Edkins had a corner kick and drove into the box for a goal attempt before being tackled by Lumberton’s goalie Miguel Hernandez.
Just before halftime, Collins-Jackson and Lumberton’s Quinton Frederick got tangled up as Collins-Jackson tried to make a play on the ball. Instead of giving the Scots the penalty, the referee gave both Collins-Jackson and Frederick a yellow card — which didn’t go over well with either head coach.
The first half ended with a save by Graham to keep the Scots in the game.
The officiating continued to be an issue for the Scots in the second half, as call after call seemed to favor the Pirates. The Scots had opportunities to tie the match and even take the lead but penalty kicks by Collins-Jackson and Louis Caulderon-Flores both missed their mark.
With six and a half minutes left the match remained knotted 3-2 with Lumberton leading. Despite three saves by Graham to give the Scots a fighting chance, Lumberton broke the game open with a second goal by Britt.
Two minutes later, Santos scored his second goal to give the Pirates a 5-2 lead. Lumberton finished the scoring with 2:24 left on the clock with a goal by Noah Taylor to give the Pirates the 6-2 victory.
With the win, Lumberton advances to the second round of the SAC-8 tournament and will take on No. 7 Seventy-First tonight. The Falcons defeated No. 2 Jack Britt, 2-1 to advance to the semi-finals.
No. 5 Richmond defeated No. 4 Hoke, 2-1 and will take on No. 1 Pinecrest who defeated No. 8 Purnell Swett, 9-0.
The SAC-8 championship game is slated for Oct. 26 with the higher seeded team hosting. All games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The winner of the SAC-8 tournament will receive an automatic bid to the 4A playoffs, while the remaining teams will be seeded based on record with the remaining 4A schools.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.