PEMBROKE — After playing through two halves and two 10-minute overtime periods on Monday at Purnell Swett, the Scotland boys soccer team didn’t have much energy left in its tank.
But they had just enough energy to swarm goalkeeper Aubry Graham after the senior knocked away a penalty kick by Purnell Swett’s Logan Scott to secure a 6-5 win for the Fighting Scots.
With the score tied at 1-all after two overtimes, both teams scored three times in the first round of penalty kicks. Five players from each team attempted shots in that round.
The game then moved to a round of sudden-death penalty kicks. Danny Reyes led off the sudden-death round with a goal against Purnell Swett goalkeeper Nick Ramirez, but the Rams’ Drake Mason responded by finding the back of the net against Graham to keep the game going.
Scotland’s Scott Mager scored on the next penalty kick, setting the stage for Graham to clinch the win by deflecting Logan Scott’s shot.
“I was thinking about where they went the last couple of times, trying to figure out where they were going to go,” Graham said of his mindset just before the game-winning save. “I stopped and got it out front. Didn’t worry about catching it as much as just blocking it.”
The Scots (3-6, 1-3 SAC) lost to the Rams (4-5-2, 2-4 SAC) at home 2-1 on Aug. 29, and Scotland coach Blake Dickerson said his team’s performance against the Rams was better this time around.
“I saw a completely different team out there the first time we played them,” Dickerson said. “It was horrible. We came back, we made some adjustments to our formation, I changed some boys around, and I think it clicked. We’re a lot better as a team, and we have a better tempo and rhythm about us.”
The game was scoreless at halftime, and Scotland’s Adolfo Duran had a chance to change that in the opening minute of the second half. Duran got around the keeper on a breakaway, but he lost control of the ball near the left side of the goal. The junior forward then attempted a sliding shot that missed the goal.
Purnell Swett’s Jafet Robles put the Rams on the scoreboard first with a goal on a penalty kick later in the second half.
Jamison Strickland fired a shot off the crossbar with 35 minutes left in the game, narrowly missing an opportunity to give the Rams the lead.
With 11 minutes left on the clock, Duran made up for his shortcoming earlier in the game by breaking away from the defense and finding the back of the net from inside the box. Luis Flores earned an assist on the play.
Andrew Oswald, Gabriel Jordan and Flores scored goals for Scotland in the first round of penalty kicks. Ramirez, Pacey Brooks and Robles scored for Purnell Swett in the first round.
“It shows that this team is here to play,” Dickerson said. “Yeah, we may not beat some of these better-tier teams, but it also shows that these kids are here to play, and you see the dedication in it.”
Graham had 13 saves in regulation and added three more during the penalty kick rounds.
Scotland plays at Seventy-First in a rescheduled game on Tuesday night. The game will resume from where it left off on Sept. 10, when the Falcons jumped out to a 1-0 lead before the game was postponed due to lightning with 17 minutes remaining in the first half.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.