Patriot Soccer Game Suspended by Lightning
The Pinecrest Patriot boys’ soccer team (0-1-1) played only their second home game on Thursday night, hosting the East Chapel Hill Wildcats (4-1-0), but the outcome was ultimately determined by the weather. With 10:15 remaining in the first half, and Pinecrest down one score, the game was suspended due to lightning in the area.
Coach Evan Saleeby, East coach Austin Collins and Pinecrest administration huddled with the officiating team, led by center referee Jason Folsom. Folsom explained the decision, based on the use of a lightning meter.
“Our lightning meter detects the distance of the lightning to the location of the meter,” he said following the official decision to suspend the match after a lengthy. “Play is suspended for 30 minutes each time we see lightning, and the meter resets, so the coaches agreed to take a suspended match and replay the game at a time that they decide. It was for the safety of everyone involved.”
Cheered on by the rejuvenated and loud Patriot Super Fan student group, Pinecrest came out focused and pumped for its game against the second-ranked 4-A team in the state (EurosportScoreboard), despite slippery footing on a rain-drenched John Williams field.
The Patriots and Wildcats were evenly matched for the first 30 minutes, but a bad give-away on the Patriot defensive side led to the only score of the game. Wildcat Louis Levin collected the mishit touch and aimed right at the goal, finding the back of the net at the 12:40 mark of the first half.
Saleeby was pleased with how his team has rallied from early-season difficulties.
“Since our last game (a 6-0 loss to Raleigh Sanderson), the boys have been working really hard at practice and have been very focused,” he said. “They played well tonight, came out on top and had a couple of good chances, as did East Chapel Hill. I think it was a pretty even game at the point it was suspended.
“I’ve been very proud of them for overcoming the adversity of the Sanderson game; that was probably a good wake-up call for us.”
Collins, who has been at East for four years, knows his players are always excited to come to Pinecrest because of the fans, the atmosphere and the quality of play.
“I was really happy with the way we played, which makes it even harder to suspend it, but it happens and it’s for their safety,” he said resignedly. “It was great to see Louis (Levin) get his goal because he had missed on a couple of chances but had played really well in the first 30 minutes.”
Since the teams did not complete an entire half, the game will not count in the standings and will be replayed at a date to be determined by the coaches and school representatives. Pinecrest travels to East on Sept. 27.
According to Saleeby, the junior varsity result will count. Coach Jordan Beck’s Patriot team lost 1-0, their first loss against two wins.
“Tonight’s game was a tough one to lose,” said Beck. “Their early goal threw us out of our rhythm and we never regained it, missing a number of chances by the end of the game.”
Pinecrest hosts Holly Springs Monday night at 7 p.m.
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