Roundup: Scotland draws with Red Springs in men's soccer opener

Aug. 24—LAURINBURG — The Scotland men's soccer team didn't start their season with the best possible result. They didn't start it in the worst way, either.

Instead, they finished their season opener against the Red Springs Red Devils Wednesday night with a final score of 1-1.

"We started a little shaky early in the game," Scotland head coach Orrick McDougald said. "They were playing a little timidly, and I think that was just first-game jitters. I had a couple of parents come up to me and say that they looked a whole lot better than they looked last year, especially conditioning-wise. But some of our top players got hurt and started cramping up, so we've just got to teach them a little bit more conditioning. But overall, we did pretty good, so I'm proud of the guys."

Once the game began, Red Springs (0-0-1) only needed a few minutes to score their only goal after Alex Perez found the back of the net from just inside the penalty area with 34:35 left until halftime.

While the Scots (0-0-1) eventually tied the game, they had an opportunity to do so earlier on with just under 16 minutes before halftime; Red Springs goalkeeper Jesus Camara tried to dive on the ball but missed, which led to Scotland midfielder Jaeden Williams getting a wide-open look for a shot on goal.

His attempt went over the goalpost, however.

"Every practice, before we end practice, we work on shots like that," McDougald said. "Before the game, I said, 'Y'all, we can't afford to miss opportunities and shots on goal, and you have to be sure about your footing.' And tonight, we weren't, and it hurt us. But we've just got to put foot to ball. We've got to capitalize on our open shots."

Scotland successfully tied the game with 4:52 left in the first half when midfielder Eli Clark scored on a free kick that sailed over Camara's head.

"I was just trying to get it over the wall and to the top left (corner)," Clark said. "I was super happy."

While neither team scored in the second half, it doesn't mean there weren't some close calls. The closest of them all may have been when Red Springs' Marco Tellez had seemingly given the Red Devils the lead after booting the ball into the net past Scotland goalkeeper Jack Herr, who had 24 saves on the night.

But Tellez was called for a handball violation just before the thought-to-be goal, which wiped it away.

Although the Scots couldn't end the game like the one played last year against Red Springs, when they won 3-1, McDougald noticed a difference in his team's performance against the Red Devils this go-around.

"We communicated better and passed the ball better than we did last year," McDougald said. "We spread the field more. I think (in) the first half, we played to their speed, but then we settled down; they talked more. I (saw) them doing more directionals and things of that sort and getting open looks. So, they did a heck of a job with passing and communicating today that we didn't do last year. I'm super proud and pumped about that."

Scotland plays again when they open Sandhills Athletic Conference play on Aug. 30 at Hoke County.

After finishing 0-13 in the SAC in 2022, McDougald said the goal for his team is to "at least get one."

"Our whole goal is to get one conference game under our belt," McDougald said. "And I know every year, Hoke (County) is pretty tough. But I told them guys, I said 'You can play with anybody.' I just feel like they can play with anybody if they communicate and capitalize on what we need to capitalize on. We're going to shock somebody in the conference."

Scotland volleyball gets first win of season at Purnell Swett

Editor's note: Player stats for Scotland are unofficial.

The Scotland volleyball team (1-2) earned their first win Wednesday in nonconference action after a 3-0 result against the Purnell Swett Rams (4-2) in Pembroke. The Lady Scots won with set scores of 25-20, 25-16, and 25-19.

Addison Johnson finished with 13 kills, five digs, and three blocks for Scotland. Reagan Malpass had five kills, Emerie Snuggs had four kills and a block, Ramsey Hale had three kills, and Nateya Scott had two digs.

Scotland hosts South View on Thursday.