LUMBERTON — After a sluggish first half and start to the second, Lumberton boys soccer coach Kenny Simmons was fed up with his team’s lack of energy and jumped out of his seat, yelling out to challenge his team.
Whether it was Simmons’ verbal message or the perfect moment to strike, Lumberton netted the lone goal of the weather-shortened match for a 1-0 win over Purnell Swett to grab the home Southeastern Conference win on Wednesday night.
“We talked about it at halftime and the guys really didn’t seem to respond the first 10 minutes of the second half, and out of frustration I get up off the bench and get a little vocal with them trying to light a fire under them,” he said. “Whether it helped or not, I’m not sure but we did respond with a goal there within a few minutes.”
Lumberton (5-3-3) sophomore Christian Santos scored the game-winning in the 49th minute as he broke free from the Purnell Swett defense. Earlier in the game, Santos missed his chance at finding the back of the net in the first half on a breakaway that was stopped by Purnell Swett goalkeeper Nick Ramirez.
“He had a big game the other night at Scotland with a hat trick,” Simmons said. “We’ve talked about it. He’s got to be a little more consistent for us in front of the net.”
The match was stopped due to lightning with 16:27 left and was called just over an hour later, much to the dismay of both sides.
“I’ve been on the other side of this too where you’re down and there’s still time in the game and you want to get back on the field,” Simmons said. “I would’ve liked to have gone out and played the last 16 minutes, but at the same time I’m glad we got the win too.”
The weather cut short a match where Purnell Swett (2-8) came out with a lot energy in the first half and controlled the possession battle for much of the contest, and coach Alaric Strickland saw his team play with the highest energy level all season.
“This was the most energy, the most enthusiastic we’ve played all season,” he said. “Energy wise and emotion wise, these guys were in it all the way tonight, and it’s just unfortunate it had to end this way.”
Strickland hopes that this can be a turning point for his team starting the second half of SEC play.
“You can carry this energy on the rest of the season, that’s what I’ve asked of them,” Strickland said.
The Rams will play at home at Red Springs on Monday and Lumberton hosts Cape Fear tonight.
A pair of hat tricks lifts St. Pauls soccer
CERRO GORDO — The St. Pauls boys soccer team stayed perfect in Three Rivers Conference play with an 8-0 at West Columbus on Wednesday.
Alexis Mendez and Victor Garcia each had a hat trick in the win for the Bulldogs. Ricardo Flores and Gabriel Hernandez each had a goal to round out the scoring. Mendez had three assists.
St. Pauls plays rival Red Springs at home next week.
Red Springs takes five-set victory over St. Pauls
RED SPRINGS — Rallying back from a two-set hole, the Red Springs volleyball team earned a TRC win over St. Pauls at home in five sets on Wednesday.
Sanastasia Powell had 15 kills and five blocks for Red Springs. The Lady Red Devils picked up contributions from Jalexus Bratcher with five kills, Katelyn Culbreth with four kills and five blocks and Kelsey Locklear added 19 assists.
In middle school football action, Rowland claimed a 44-14 win over Fairmont.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.