BURGAW –East Bladen, facing almost certain loss in its Four County Conference soccer match at Pender County on Tuesday, scored a goal in the last minute of overtime and then won the ensuing shootout to claim the win.
The Eagles improved to 6-2-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
After nearly 30 minutes of scoreless, back and forth action to start the match, the Patriots got on the board with a penalty kick. But East Bladen battled back and found the back of the net when Grey Cabellero sent a pass to Brooks McGill, who rocketed a shot into the goal to knot the match at 1-1 before halftime.
The Eagles opened the second half with a goal 14 minutes in when Pierce Melvin passed to Cabellero, who blistered a shot from more than 25 yards out into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
About 16 minutes later, Pender County answered with a goal off a rebound to tie the match again, 2-2 — and that’s how regulation ended.
The Patriots moved in front early in the first overtime with a goal, and it stood up until late in the OT. That’s when Greyson Heustess took a lead pass from Dan Tatum, maneuvered through the Pender defense and fired a shot at goal — only to have it knocked back out. But Heustess was ready for the rebound, and he finished off the goal to knot the match at 3-3 as overtime was coming to a close.
The Patriots found the net with their first two shots in the shootout, but Jake Evans and MvGill also scored on their kicks to keep things knotted up. On Pender’s third shot, the Eagles netminder Spencer Scott fully extended in the right direction and knocked the ball away — opening the door for East Bladen.
But East Bladen couldn’t take advantage, missing on its next shot. But the Patriots missed again and, this time, Cabellero buried his shot to give the Eagles a 3-2 edge. Pender scored on its final shot to tie the shootout at 3-3, but Caleb Hatchell smoked a shot into the net for the match winner.
Scott recorded 11 saves in the nets for East Bladen.
In Dublin on Tuesday, East Bladen knocked off the West Bladen jayvee, 9-0, giving up just 4 games in singles.
In singles action, No. 1 Justyna Gargala took an 8-2 win; No. 2 Cassie Hill earned an 8-1 win; No. 3 Trinity Carroll got an 8-0 win; No. 4 Maddie West took an 8-1 win; No. 5 Ting Lin got an 8-0 win; and No. 6 Bailee Davis earned an 8-0 win.
In doubles, Gargala and Hill teamed up at No. 1 for a 6-1 win; Carroll and West took a 6-3 win at No. 2; and Jayme Frady teamed with Lin for an 8-2 win at No. 3.
The Lady Eagles improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Four County Conference.
— In Dunn on Tuesday, the Lady Knights were swept by Four County Conference leader Midway by the scores of 25-20, 25-16 and 25-16.
The loss drops West Bladen to 6-6 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
Morgan Schumacher recorded six kills, two solo blocks and two aces for the Lady Knights, while the trio of Raegan Davis, Kassidy Anderson and Kathryn Schultz each contributed four kills.