Scotland’s women’s soccer teams had mixed results against Hoke County at Raz Autry Stadium in Raeford Wednesday night. The junior varsity side tied, while varsity lost 2-0.
Hoke County goalkeeper Breyona McNair saved two penalties in the second half to preserve a 1-1 draw with Scotland’s JV team.
Hoke County coach Casandra Urriola said she expected McNair to save the penalties, even though that is often one of the toughest tasks for a keeper.
“She has great reflexes so I expected her to catch them. Her reflexes are really her strength,” Urriola said.
Scotland coach Casey Plummer, in her first season, said this was the first time all season the team had actually been given a penalty, and it isn’t something they practice often. She did, however, see improvement in her squad.
“There are still things we need to work on, like stringing together passes, crossing better and looking up field to see who’s open,” Plummer said. “But we were much better with our spacing and not clumping up as much.”
The Scots had taken the lead five minutes before halftime on a goal scored by Emonica Bullock. Scotland had looked the better side to that point, getting the majority of the chances and possession. But McNair had been doing a good job of keeping the ball out of the net, stopping several breakaways anyway she could, whether with her hands or feet. But the Scots were finally able to put one past her after Jasmine McLean stole the ball from a defender in the box and crossed it to a wide open Bullock, who tapped it in.
Both sides were pretty even from then, but it looked like Scotland would go ahead with 20 minutes left after Hoke County was called for a foul and McLean stepped up. However, McNair read her kick right and blocked it. McLean rushed for the rebound but the keeper scooped it up before she could tap it in.
Perhaps revitalized by the effort of its keeper, Hoke County finally managed to find the goal and made it level with just 12 minutes left to play. From there on out both sides looked pretty even, until Scotland was awarded another penalty with seven minutes remaining. But, just like the first time, McNair saved the shot – and the game – for her side.
Hoke County didn’t need any goalkeeper heroics in the varsity match. Two goals in the first half put them too far ahead for Scotland to mount a comeback. The Scots’ best chance came with 14 minutes left in the first half, when a headed ball hit the back of the net. However, the referee ruled it as offside.
Scotland coach Colin McDavid said his team put forth a great effort, but just couldn’t seem to find that final touch.
“I can’t say anything bad about the girls’ effort,” he said. “They all gave it their all out there, but it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Scotland did a good job of spreading the field out, often attacking from the wings. However, their attempted crosses to the far post usually came up short, allowing Hoke County’s keeper to cut off any scoring chances.
McDavid said he hopes to find some revenge when Scotland hosts Hoke County after spring break.