South Lenoir soccer looks to improve upon historic 2018

South Lenoir soccer looks to improve upon historic 2018

WASHINGTON | South Lenoir’s latest game can’t be judged on a surface level.

South Lenoir fell to Washington 11-2 on March 22, but the Blue Devils came into the game going 3-1 before taking on a Pam Pack team that hasn’t lost in Eastern Carolina Conference play since joining last year. Washington took a 2-0 lead, but South Lenoir’s Skarlett Gonzalez scored in the 29th minute on an assist from Candace Pierce to close the deficit. The Pam Pack scored in the 32nd minute, but three minutes later Gonzalez found Pierce, who scored from about 35 yards away to make it 3-2 heading into halftime.

Gonzalez, who switched from a defender to forward this season, said the transition hasn’t been too tough.

“It’s been pretty good and I’m happy to help the team,” Gonzalez said.

Washington may have taken over in the second half, but South Lenoir coach David Whaley said there are positives, especially in the first half.

“We’re getting a lot better as a team,” Whaley said. “We’ve had a good start to the season and we’re trying to chip away at the gap between us and the class of the Eastern Carolina Conference. Washington is the top team, but we were able to play well with them in the first half. We’ll continue to get stronger as the season goes.”

The Blue Devils are coming off a 10-8 season in 2018, their best in the history of the program. South Lenoir lost eight seniors from the team, but there was plenty of youth on the team — evidenced by the 11 sophomores on the current roster.

Pierce is one of six seniors for the Blue Devils and leads the team with eight goals on the year. Pierce said the team had its lapses against Washington, but the talent is there for another strong run.

“We needed to show more heart and grit in the second half,” Pierce said. “We’ve definitely got the ability with this team and when we play together, we’re going to be very good.”

South Lenoir plays three games — all at home — in the upcoming week. The Blue Devils step away from the ECC with a Monday matchup against Rosewood before taking on Greene Central Tuesday and North Lenoir Friday. The contest with Rosewood is slated for 5 p.m. and the other two are set for 6 p.m.

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