LAURINBURG — Scotland scored two goals in the first half and held off Richmond over the final minutes of the game to win 2-1 in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Scots took a 2-0 lead into the break after getting two quality strikes from Shannon Reynolds and Kaitlyn Lewis. The second half had little action until Richmond’s Cassie McFayden scored with 16 minutes to play to set up an intense finish. Two minutes later, Olivia Bateman was sent off on a red card, so Scotland had to play the rest of the game down a player.
However, Richmond was unable to find another goal and saw their season come to an end. The two teams played to a 2-2 draw on Thursday in the regular season finale. Scotland coach Danny Gallagher said his team’s intensity from the very beginning was the difference in the two games, as the Scots were able to put Richmond on its back foot early on.
“The girls came out tonight with a really high intensity. They were putting Richmond under pressure at every ball, something that we had stressed Friday at practice and really before the game,” Gallagher said.
Reynolds opened the scoring with 13:32 left in the first half with her long-distance shot from the left side of the field. She was running up-field and sent a ball flying across the box and under the crossbar for the goal.
Reynolds alternated between playing in the midfield and on defense for most of the game.
“She’s one of those players who is very aggressive so I started here a lot on defense, but in the last two to three weeks she’s made that move forward into midfield, and there was a point today where she was asking to be put back in midfield,” Gallagher said.
Lewis netted the second four minutes later from the right side of the box. Deanna McLaurin found Lewis cutting through the Richmond defense and played the ball onto her feet. Lewis dribbled closer to the goal before curling one by goalkeeper Tatyona Gould.
Scotland advances to the second round with the win, and will play Lumberton tonight at 7 p.m. in Lumberton. The Scots would have to win the tournament in order to make the playoffs. Lumberton defeated Scotland in both meetings this season, and the Scots will likely be playing without Bateman after she received the red card and a probably two-game suspension.
Despite the loss, Richmond coach Benny Howard said he was glad that his team was in the game until the very end.
“It was a physical match between Scotland and Richmond, as always. I wish them the best of luck in their endeavors when they play Lumberton and we will regroup and get ready for next year,” Howard said.