DUBLIN — It took just 1 minute for West Bladen to get on the board Wednesday, but it helped to end a two-year conference winless streak for the Knights.
Clay Allen, who was tackled in the box, booted home a goal on a penalty kick in the first minute of the Four County Conference match against Pender County, and West Bladen went on to hand the Patriots a 3-1 loss.
The win improved the Knights to 4-4-0 overall and 1-3-0 in the conference.
Pender County knotted the match 1-1 about 15 minutes into the match, but the Knights wasted little time regaining the lead. Just 2 minutes after the Patriots’ goal, Allen took the ball nearly the length of the field and blasted a shot from less than 20 yards out that found the back of the net for a 2-1 lead that held up to halftime.
In the second half, West Bladen was forced to play a man down for the final 22:30 of the match because of a red card, but the Knights still managed to tally a match-sealing goal when Bryan Labra rocketed a shot into the net..
— In Clinton on Monday, the Lady Dark Horses survived a letdown in the second game and then had to fight off a pesky East Bladen squad to take a Four County Conference match win in four games.
Clinton earned the victory by scores of 25-14, 13-25, 25-18 and 25-23.
Lacey Suggs fired in 16 points to lead the Lady Eagles, and added two aces and two kills. Abbey Norris contributed a team-high 14 kills along with 14 service points and a pair of aces.
Miller Heustess had 11 assists for East Bladen, while teammate Brooke Smith had three aces and two kill.
— In Shallotte on Monday, West Bladen’s Lady Knights were swept in a non-conference match against West Brunswick by the scores of 25-9, 25-17 and 25-12.
Taylor Stephens led West Bladen with 10 service points, and added a kill. Courtney Thompson had eight blocks and two kills, while teammate Mallory Davis contributed seven blocks and five kills.
Morgan Sweeney and Breanna Jackson each had two kills.
— In Dublin on Tuesday, Mallory Davis and Courtney Thompson combined for 22 kills and 23 blocks to lead West Bladen past Midway in a Four County Conference match.
Davis punched in 16 kills and had eight blocks, while Thompson contributed 15 blocks and six kills for the Lady Knights. Davis also had 11 service points.
Morgan Sweeney added 10 service points and six kills.
— In Rose Hill on Tuesday, the threesome of Abbey Norris, Lacey Suggs and Miller Heustess combined for 37 service points en route to a hard-fought 25-21, 25-22 and 25-21 Four County Conference win over Union.
Norris recorded 14 service points with four aces and nine kills, while Suggs added 13 service points with a trio of aces and six kills. Heustess tossed in 10 service points and had seven assists for the Lady Eagles..
— In Dublin on Monday, the winless Titans of Trask sandwiched a goal between two West Bladen scores to hold off a second-half rally by the Knights and take a 3-2 Four County Conference win.
Trask opened the scoring just 5 minutes into the first half with a goal that caromed off the post and zipped past Knights netminder Brett Jackson. That lead held up until just 7 seconds remained in the first half, when the Titans found the back of the net on a shot that grazed Jackson’s fingertips for a 2-0 edge at intermission.
West Bladen punched up the speed on its front line to open the second half and it immediately paid dividends. With just 8 minutes gone, Jackson boomed a long kick from the goalie box that carried beyond the Trask defense and was corralled by Clay Allen, who took the ball deep into Titans territory and booted home the goal and cut the deficit to 2-1.
But Trask was able to answer later in the second half with a goal that took the lead to 3-1.
Allen recorded his second goal of the match with 10 minutes left to play off a pass from Jorcahel Monroy, cutting the deficit to 3-2. But West Bladen couldn’t manufacture a shot on goal the rest of the way.
— In Elizabethtown on Monday, the Eagles dropped their third straight Four County Conference match — this one a heartbreaker by a 1-0 score to Pender County on a goal with just 5 minutes left to play.
The loss also extended the Eagles’ scoreless streak to eight straight halves.
— In Elizabethtown on Tuesday, the Eagles of East Bladen snapped its four-match scoreless streak with a 3-0 non-conference win over visiting St. Pauls on Tuesday.
Colby Hester put East Bladen on the board quickly with a goal barely 3 minutes into the match. He doubled the lead about 20 minutes later and the Eagles took a 2-0 advantage into halftime.
East Bladen tacked on an insurance goal in the second half when Tyler Polk took a feed from Alex Felder and fired a shot into the back of the Bulldogs’ net.
The Eagles defense, meanwhile, thwarted any St. Pauls scoring opportunity throughout the game, with East Bladen netminders Matt Massengill and Wade Owen teaming up for a shutout. The Eagles outshot St. Pauls by a 13-5 margin.
— In Burgaw on Tuesday, the Lady Eagles nipped Pender 5-4 in a Four County Conference match.
In singles action, Kathryn Cole set the tone at No. 1 with an 8-3 win, followed by wins at No. 2 by Leighanne Kelly, 8-1; No. 4 by Carlin Ferguson, 9-7; and No. 6 by Morgan Pridgen, 8-2.
East Bladen took the No. 1 doubles match, with the duo of Cole and Kelly claiming an 8-3 verdict.