North Lenoir falls to Washington, now tied for first in ECC

Published 11:23 pm Monday, October 9, 2017


Kinston Free Press


LA GRANGE — North Lenoir still controls its own destiny in the Eastern Carolina Conference — there’s just another team with the Hawks in the running for a conference title.

Washington defeated North Lenoir 4-3 Monday in a hard-fought contest throughout. The Hawks (12-3-1, 7-1 Eastern Carolina Conference) had a 1-0 halftime lead, but the Pam Pack (8-4-1, 7-1) fought back to force a tie atop the conference standings while snapping North Lenoir’s eight-game winning streak and avenge a 2-0 Sept. 13 defeat to the Hawks.

READ MORE: New father Kozuch splitting time between soccer, family

“Both teams knew what was at stake coming in,” Washington coach Jim Kozuch said. “They beat us the first time and we’ve won every game since (pushing our streak to six with this game), so we knew what we had to do. (North Lenoir) Coach (Chris) Evans has a great team and he does a good job with them. Intensity was high, there was a lot of tension and we were just lucky to get an extra goal.”

The game was physical throughout, but North Lenoir was able to get on the board first in the 21st minute on a Brandon Potter goal off Cameron Butler’s assist.

The Pam Pack turned up the intensity in the second half, culminating with a Tim Anglim goal in the 46th minute to tie the match and Marcos Bolivar’s in the 58th to put Washington ahead 2-1. Jerrin Howell delivered the equalizer two minutes later for North Lenoir, but in the 62nd minute, Parker Graham untied it for Washington.

North Lenoir looked to tie the game in the 65th minute, but on the free kick, Taiwan Hines’ shot was saved by Kevin Avilla. One minute later, Oscar Espinoza scored on a rebound to put Washington ahead 4-2. The Hawks would score in the 78th minute on Howell’s second goal — this one on a Dylan Meyer assist — but couldn’t get a fourth.

“We played a very tough, physical Washington team,” North Lenoir coach Chris Evans said. “Give them credit — they came in and handled their business. We had several opportunities in the first half to score that we didn’t take advantage of and we needed to.”

After the game, the coaches agreed if the teams would win out, a one-game match will be held at a neutral location to determine who would receive the higher seed for the NCHSAA 2A state playoffs over flipping a coin, setting up a potential rubber match.

“I told my team ‘if we handle our business and they handle theirs, we’ll meet again,’” Evans said.

North Lenoir will face Greene Central at home Wednesday while Washington travels to Ayden-Grifton.