Spartanburg, SC - Cape Fear men's soccer lost to Spartanburg Methodist in the first round of the NJCAA Region 10 Conference tournament.
Goals were scored by three different Pioneers, including Hykeem Martin, who scored a hattrick, Jordan Scovel, who finished with a brace, and Jakari Davis, who added one.
For the Sea Devils, defender Connor Rolph brought a spark off the bench playing at left back. Recovering from an injury, Rolph logged more minutes than he had in sometime, but brought a lot of energy and attempted Cape Fear's best shot on goal late in the first half.
Midfielder Christian Bejarano also played well, as he continued to bring intensity and a high speed of play.
Head coach C.W. Ponton said his team was ready for the challenge of playing the third seeded Pioneers, but their opponents execution made it hard to cope against.
"We knew exactly what to expect from Spartanburg, even down to tendencies, but they still executed it extremely well so props to them," said Ponton.
After so many games over the past two and a half weeks, Cape Fear's fatigue caught up to them.
"As the game went on, I could see where fitness was an issue and the short turnover after so many games was not enough rest after everything our team has been through. We played nine games in 17 days leading up to the playoffs. That's just a lot on the body."
Wednesday's loss puts an end to the 2018 season, but Coach Ponton believes his team performed well despite a lot of obstacles.
"We have a strong freshman core that will be returning and I know this was a tough end for the sophomores, but their playing careers aren't over if they don't want them to be. Some things people may not know is due to the hurricane we took 20 days off with no training or team fitness. We were able to get two solid practices in during the month of October and we still finished 7-8-1. While it's not a winning record, I'm proud of my guys for pushing themselves so much to the very end."
Courtesy of Nick Denning