The Dark Horses men soccer team couldn’t hold off the No. 1 team in the conference Wednesday night, falling to the East Duplin Panthers, 4-2.
“They were a good team, they were really fast and they just moved the ball really well against us,” said Clinton coach Brad Spell. “They were extremely quick and have been the best team all year for a reason and they earned the number one seed.”
Though the Horses lost, history was made for the black and gold of Clinton High, with a scoring record set by senior and scoring leader Ivan Ponce. He was able to score one of the Horses’ two goals in Wednesday’s match, giving him 30 goals on the season, putting him one over the previous record single-season goal record of 29.
Clinton lost by two, but by the end of the first half they were within one of the Panthers. The first half ended with a score of 2-1, with the Horses right on the heels of East Duplin. The Dark Horses had chances to tie the game in the second half.
“We had good chances to tie it,” said Spell. “We actually out-shot them at one point 5 to 2 — I don’t know how some of those shots didn’t go in.”
Clinton’s only other goal on the night came for Sam Holloman and the lone assist was courtesy of Sammy Sutter.
The East Duplin Panthers weren’t ranked atop the conference for nothing, boasting plenty of experience with a multitude of seniors on the roster.
“They had 17 seniors, which gave them plenty of experience,” Spell pointed out. “I’m really proud of the guys. They were just the better team tonight and it just didn’t happen for us. I’m going to give them the night off which is something I don’t normal do. I think they could really use it after tonight. It will give them time to clear their head and begin getting ready for the playoffs.”
The Horses finish the regular season 18-5 overall and 9-3 in conference. They will most likely have a 9 or 10 seed going forward as they prepare for the first round of the playoffs Wednesday.
Reach Michael Hardison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.