Oct. 26—Two one-goal matches in the semifinals of the Sandhills Athletic Conference men's soccer tournament left the top two teams from the regular season to square off tonight for the championship.
Top-seeded Lee County defeated Hoke County in one Tuesday night semifinal, while second-seed and top 4A team Pinecrest topped Southern Lee in the other, both by identical 2-1 scores. This set up a rematch of last year's tournament final, which will take place this evening at 6 p.m. at Lee County.
Lee County, which improved to 17-5 on the season, got a difficult battle from the Bucks (14-9-1), who are likely bound for the 4A state playoffs. All of the scoring took place in the first half, with Brandon Harding and Boure Diouf scoring goals. Assists were credited to Christopher Orellana and Irvin Gutierrez. Hoke received a goal from Jose Vazquez de la Cruz off an assist from Leo Ramirez.
Nicholas Rodriguez and Sebastian Lopez shared the duties in goal, each playing a half and each making three saves.
The match between Southern and Pinecrest, played on the Patriots' pitch, was the fourth of the season between the teams. Neither team scored in the first half. In the second, the Cavaliers (11-7-1) got a goal from Krystian Maciejewski off an assist from Jose Hernandez. However, the Patriots were able to get two goal in the half and scored the narrow victory.
Southern keeper Danis Cabrera was under heavy pressure from Pinecrest for much of the match and was chosen as player of the match despite the loss.
The Cavaliers will await their state playoff assignment this weekend when the brackets are announced this weekend, and first-round matches will be played Monday. All four of the semifinalists are expected to be in the state playoffs, while Richmond is a few places out in the 4A East and will have to hope for shifts in the RPI to get in.