Loss knocks Fairmont from Three Rivers title picture
by Scott Schlaufman Sports Editor
FAIRMONT — The Fairmont volleyball team has been no stranger to winning this season, topping nearly all comers, be it a 1A or 4A foe school or any school in between.
They just haven’t tamed the Stallions.
South Columbus spoiled senior night on Wednesday for the Golden Tornadoes (15-3, 11-2 Three Rivers conference) with a 25-23, 25-21, 25-16 win that gives Fairmont the second-place finish in the conference. Take away the Stallions and Fairmont is undefeated in the conference with one loss overall.
“If you’re going to lose, you want to lose to a team that you know is good,” said Fairmont captain Christa Thorndyke. “We played our hearts out. We played as a team, we just made crucial mistakes at crucial times.”
It was a close match that could have gone either way in the first two sets.
In the first set, no team led by more than two points at any given time in a game of chicken.
Though South Columbus had a run to make it 11-5 early in the second, Fairmont came back, tying it at 16-16 and going point-for-point shortly after.
In both instances, it was a brief run that started near South Columbus’ 19th point that made the difference.
The first breaking point came as South Columbus scored on a line violation to make it 21-20 Fairmont. After another quick point by the Tornadoes, the Stallions had two straight kills to tie it 22-22. After a kill gave Fairmont their final lead, the Stallions scored the final three points of the set.
The second breaking point followed an ace by Reva Locklear that gave Fairmont a 19-18 lead. After the point, South Columbus scored seven of the last nine points to win it, utilizing a kill into a Fairmont block, as well as Fairmont’s own missed kill attempts.
“We just didn’t have enough fire at the end,” said Fairmont coach Michael Baker. “When it got to be 20-20, they went to the people I thought they would. We made some mistakes when it got within those last five points.”
Both baker and Thorndyke were generally happy with the team’s play, despite some misleading statistics.
Fairmont had only 11 kills, led by five from Khadijah Thompson, largely because of a back line that didn’t allow much to touch the ground. Combined with 26 digs, the teams forced rallies that lasted several minutes at times.
“We didn’t play bad, they just got to a whole lot of balls,” Baker said. “The balls that we’d hit, they brought it back up.”
Richmond stuns LHS soccer
LUMBERTON — Call it a bit of revenge.
Less than a month after beating Richmond with a goal in the closing minutes, the Lumberton soccer team faced a similar fate in the rematch.
Richmond’s Brandon Greene scored the game-winning goal off a clearing pass that bounced over the head of Pirate goalie Christian Valladarez with three minutes left to give the Raiders to a 3-2 Southeastern Conference victory Wednesday night.
“They returned the favor on us I guess,” Lumberton coach Kenny Simmons said.
The Pirates (10-5, 5-2 SEC) had entered the game looking to capitalize off the momentum from a win last week against Pinecrest. They’ll need the Patriots to lose again to stay in contention for the SEC title.
Simmons said the goal should have been stopped, but a choice by Valladarez backfired.
“He allowed it to bounce in front of him and when it hit the ground it bounced like a rocket,” Simmons said.
After Greene’s goal, Lumberton attempted to find the equalizer in the final minutes. The Pirates’ best opportunity came when Arash Hosseini fired a shot over the goal from 10 yards out.
Johnny Juarez and Armando Garcia each had a tally for the Raiders. Colby Johnson notched both of Lumberton’s goals to give his team a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Red Springs, St. Pauls soccer win
CERRO GORDO — The St. Pauls soccer team came back after a 1-0 halftime deficit to win 4-1 in a Three Rivers match against West Columbus. The Bulldogs thrived behind a flurry of goals in the second half led by Erik Perez and Edison Morales.
Red Springs also won, getting two first-half goals to beat Whiteville 3-2 in a home match. The loss was Whiteville’s first in the conference.
Shawn Stinson contributed to this report.
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