LAURINBURG — The Scotland girls soccer team opened the Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule last Wednesday with an important road win at Purnell Swett.
After dropping a non-conference contest to Whiteville Thursday, the Scots returned to the pitch Monday to take on perennial SEC power Pinecrest with the chance to start 2-0 in conference play.
But the Patriots had other ideas, dominating the Scots on their home turf to the tune of a 15-0 victory. Pinecrest racked up all 15 goals in the first half and the game ended at the break because of the mercy rule.
Scotland head coach Abbi Giaier said after the defeat that her club lacked the intensity and fire that she’s come to expect from her group of players.
“I don’t think the passion was there for my girls tonight,” Giaier said.
It didn’t take long for Pinecrest (4-1-1, 2-0 SEC) to put points on the board as Chloe Brown notched a header goal off a corner kick a little over a minute into the contest.
The Patriots added two more goals, both coming from Riley Barrett in the next eight minutes to help Pinecrest build a sizable early lead that seemed to demoralize the blue and white-clad Scots.
The visitors from Southern Pines continued to push the pace and forced the Scots into retreat mode for most of the half. Scotland (2-6, 1-1) rarely gained possession of the ball long enough to mount any counterattacks and Pinecrest took advantage of that by peppering Scots keeper Anna Griswold with a seemingly never-ending array of shots on goal.
“Pinecrest is very good, you can tell those girls have been playing together for quite some time, whether that was on a club team or on the high school level,” Giaier said. “They just were able to find each other all the time and we unfortunately could not find anyone.”
Sophie Casey and Caroline Howery tacked on a goal apiece as Pinecrest further extended its lead, and Barrett completed her hat trick with 25 minutes remaining in the half to put Pinecrest up 6-0.
Patriots coach Robert Wagler substituted most of his starters out after Howery’s score to allow some of his backups to gain playing experience, and they were just as prolific at mounting up goals.
Hannah Bullock, Keeley Copper, Allyson Burney, Haleigh Connor, Brown, Danielle Richmond, Taryn Speer, Olivia Listrom and Gray Peery all chipped in with goals to cap the Patriots’ convincing win.
A reflective Giaier said Monday’s loss was step backwards for a team that had otherwise shown steady progress since the season opened a little over three weeks ago.
“This game is not a good game to show for it but we’ve been working, it’s just after a score like that it’s hard to keep the girls’ heads up because we work so hard and then here we are with a 15-0 loss.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.