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BURGAW- Pender claimed a 2-1 victory over East Bladen Wednesday night in a Waccamaw Conference boys’ soccer game that was halted by lightning with 19:51 remaining to be played.

“We were never able to get back on the field after waiting for several lightning delays,” said Eagle Coach Jay Raynor.

East Bladen scored first on a goal by Jamie Delgado off a throw-in by Zac Metz. “Zac threw a ball deep into the 6-yard box that wasn’t dealt with and it fell to Jamie who tucked it away,” described Raynor.

“Our speed up top and a slight tweak to our midfield opened up space for us in the midfield. That allowed us to generate some dangerous attacks,” stated Raynor.

Pender answered quickly with the tying goal. East Bladen held a 9-7 edge in shot count at halftime, but Pender finished with a 16-15 edge in shots.

“After half, Pender seemed to have more energy right away,” noted Raynor. “We were doing more chasing than we were being in the driver. Pender dominated the midfield and we couldn’t seem to get out of our half. They forced us to make two difficult stops and saves.”

The go-ahead goal for the Patriots came off of a counterattack. “We won a throw-in deep and dumped it in the box,” said Raynor. “However, Pender dealt with it and cleared into midfield. We had a couple misplayed cleats that led to a one on one with our keeper and resulted in the game winning goal.”

Raynor added, “Hate for the game to end that way. It was a highly competitive game that mimicked the intensity of a playoff atmosphere. The pandemic taught us that at any given moment, the things we are used to – our normal can be taken away. Tomorrow isn’t promised and we forget about that at times. Every second counts. Every play matters. Every decision matters.”

“We lost the meaning and value of the game last night,” concluded Raynor. “We were playing the defending conference champions at their home. We didn’t know the value of being up 1-0.”

The Eagles, now 2-1 in league play and 4-4 overall, will travel to Heide Trask Monday night.

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