RED SPRINGS — William Garcia calls Bernardo Pardon-Lopez the “silent beast” of the Red Springs boys soccer team.
For Garcia, an assistant coach with the Red Devils, it’s the perfect term to decribe the team’s senior captain.
“You don’t hear him too much out of him, but you hear him through his play,” Garcia said of Pardon-Lopez. “He’s got a lot of confidence.”
That confidence was on full display in the second half against Purnell Swett on Wednesday, when Pardon-Lopez stepped up for a penalty kick and netted the go-ahead goal to lift the Red Devils to a 2-1 victory in their season opener.
“Bernie always has a smile,” Garcia said. “He had a smile every time he went out for a set piece, especially after the penalty kick.”
With the game tied at 1-1, Red Springs’ Jorge Mendoza made a run down the right side of the field, getting into the box before a Rams defender fouled him at the 63-minute mark, setting up the penalty kick for Padron-Lopez, who rocketed the ball into the left side of the goal.
“Starting off, they had first-game jitters,” Garcia said. “We had to tweak the offense and defense a little bit, but once we figured it out we started playing our game. If it wasn’t for the minor injuries, I think we could’ve finished stronger than 2-1.”
As expected in the first game of a season, the Red Devils (1-0) were hampered by cramps throughout the contest but took advantage of their opportunities with aggressive play.
Mendoza keyed the attack, breaking a scoreless tie at the 46-minute mark on an assist from Francis Rodriguez to give Red Springs a 1-0 lead.
“I saw him (Mendoza) putting in the effort,” Garcia said. “He’s a little reluctant to play that left-midfield spot, but he’s a left-foot man and he’s got a kick. He knows how to work the field.”
The Rams (2-2) would answer five minutes later when former Red Springs player Brayan Azua found Vidal Velasquez on a free kick in the box, where Velasquez netted the tying goal.
After giving up the goal to Pardon-Lopez, Purnell Swett had one final chance to tie the game at the 75-minute mark, but Azua’s shot caromed off the post.
Both teams had their opportunities in the first half but went into the break tied at 0-0.
“We have a lot to work on, but the effort I saw today is what I’m looking for every game,” Garcia said. “We have to play with a zero-zero mentality and they’re getting used to that concept. We want that kind of effort from start to finish.”
With the leadership of the “silent beast,” the Red Devils are sure to make some noise as the season progresses.
Red Springs volleyball tops Westover
Behind 10 digs from Kyria Locklear and four kills from Tariah Ferguson, the Red Springs volleyball team claimed a 3-0 victory over Westover on Wednesday.
The Red Devils (2-2) won 25-12, 25-19 and 28-26 to earn the victory in three sets.
Red Springs will host St. Pauls this afternoon.
Fairmont volleyball rallies to beat Swett
PEMBROKE — The Fairmont volleyball team rallied from a two-set deficit against Purnell Swett on Wednesday to remain undefeated on the season, earning a 3-2 victory to claim the match.
The Rams (2-3) won 25-22 and 25-18 in the first two sets, but the Golden Tornadoes (3-0) responded with wins of 25-21, 25-17 and 15-13.
Kaylee McMillian paced Fairmont with 20 service points. Mya Bellamy added 15 kills, with Kiara Page contributing six. MacKenzie Johnson tallied 17 assists and Krishay Moore added nine. Niya Graham finished with five digs and Emma McMillian tallied five aces for the Golden Tornadoes.
Lumberton soccer evens record with win
SHALLOTTE — Rene Altamirano scored two second-half goals to key a 3-0 victory for the Lumberton soccer team on Wednesday at West Brunswick.
The Pirates (2-2-1) evened their record with the win. Cole Lewis added a goal, with Noah Taylor contributing an assist in the victory.
Lumberton will host Pine Forest tonight.
Lumberton tennis loses to Jack Britt
LUMBERTON — The Lumberton girls tennis team dropped a 6-3 match to Jack Britt on Wednesday, falling to 3-3 on the season.
The Lady Pirates will look to bounce back when they travel to Pinecrest this afternoon for an SEC match.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.