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Oct. 2021 - Vol. 2, No. 10

Leading Off:
A month of tricks and treats

Photo courtesy:  Adobe Stock
For some of the fall sports teams, October signified the end of the regular season...and perhaps even their nightmare.

For others, it meant their regular season continued into the post-season with some great results.

Without dwelling on the tricks, let's take a look at the treats for the month.

Forward this email to someone ready to sit in the recliner and give their tryptophans a rest after the Thanksgiving feast-a-thon!

UP Volleyball advances to state tournament second round

Lose hard-fought match to Person Rockets, 3-1
October was more of a continuation of September for the Union Pines volleyball team. 

After reeling off wins against Richmond, Hoke, and Southern Lee, they dropped the second meeting with Pinecrest on Oct. 14.

Another win against Richmond at home and a big road win against Scotland in the second round of the Sandhills Athletic Conference (SAC) tournament helped break the tie with the Fighting Scots on the 3A side of the SAC bracket.

That set up the third showdown of the season with Pinecrest at Bob Ward Gymnasium on Oct. 20. It was their second match with the Patriots in less than a week. Ultimately, the Pinecrest fought back for a 3-1 win and the SAC title.

The Vikings entered the NCHSAA 3A Volleyball Championship Tournament as the #6 seed in the East, heading into their opening round match with #27 seed Richlands Wildcats. In what was probably the shortest match of the season (just a shade over an hour), the Vikings dispatched the Wildcats (25-10, 25-12, and 25-12), advancing to the second round (Round of 16).

Oct. 26, the Vikings hosted the #11 seed Person Rockets, a team much more evenly matched with the Vikings in speed and ability. In the end, the Vikings took the Rockets to a four-set losing effort in a 25-19, 23-25, 25-20, and 25-22 match that saw long volleys, massive strikes at the net, and deep digs.

The Vikings finished the season at 20-6 overall, 9-3 in the SAC regular season, and runner-up in the SAC tournament.

Take a look back at the action in the galleries below:

HSVB - Union Pines v Pinecrest - 14 OCT 21
HSVB - Union Pines v Richmond (SAC Tourney) - 18 OCT 21
HSVB - Union Pines v Pinecrest (SAC Tourney Final) - 20 OCT 21
HSVB - Union Pines v Pinecrest (3A State Tourney-1st Rnd) - 23 OCT 21
HSVB - Union Pines v Pinecrest (3A State Tourney-2nd Rnd) - 26 OCT 21

Union Pines women golf place second in state
Finish three strokes back from first place Fike

Photo courtesy:  Coach Brandon Reynolds via Facebook
The Union Pines Women's golf team finished three strokes back from tournament champion Fike (133 to 136), earning a second-place state championship finish. 

The two-day tournament was held on Oct. 25-26 at the Gray Course at Foxfire Resort near Jackson Springs, North Carolina.

Sara Adams was the top Viking golfer, carding a two-day total of 141 (86, 85) for a tenth place finish.

Rounding out the scoring for the Vikings were: 
Carolyn Coffey (T25), Morgan Pettine (T54), and Shawna McDonald (74).

The NCHSAA also presented the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards in the 3A championship tournament to Morgan Harold from Fike and Carolyn Coffey from Union Pines.

Vikings men soccer earn state tournament berth

Earn #30 seed, face #3 Jacksonville, Nov. 1
The Union Pines Men's soccer team has endured a roller coaster of a season, with flashes of brilliance and occasionally overshadowed by heartbreak.

Finishing the regular season 5th in the Sandhills Athletic Conference (SAC) with a 4-8 record and a 5-13-2 record heading into the conference tournament, it appeared the ship may right itself for the post-season.

And it still may do so indeed.

Down the stretch, they beat Hoke County (1-nil) in double overtime on Oct. 13, followed by two 1-nil heartbreakers against Southern Lee and Pinecrest on Oct. 18 and 20.

They again beat Hoke County 1-0 on the road in the SAC tourney advancing to eventual conference champion, Lee County.

The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings appeared to help Union Pines this year. Let's take a deeper look.

Union Pines had earlier season non-conference losses to Jacksonville (8-0), Swansboro (3-0), and Southern Nash (3-1), all of whom have made the state tournament in 3A. Lee County and Southern Lee were also losses this year, and they two made the 3A East side of the bracket.

As for 4A state tourney opponents, the Vikings recorded a 2-0 loss to Northwest Guilford, and Pinecrest swept the Vikings (1-0, 1-0) and two wins and a loss against Hoke County (1-0, 1-0, 3-2).

The only other loss to a team in the state tournament goes to Jordan-Matthews (2-1), and they are in the 2A East tournament. 

When the smoke cleared, here is how the RPI looked for Union Pines:
UP Winning Percentage 0.31818
UP Opponent Winning Percentage 0.58242
UP Opponents' Opponents Winning Percentage 0.50248
Union Pines overall RPI 0.47917 (rank 30th of 50 schools)

Good luck to the Vikings as they Jacksonville, again, Nov. 1.

See the action from the Hoke County match at the link below:
HSSOC-M - Union Pines v Hoke - 13 OCT 21

Vikings gridiron season ends

Southern Lee Homecoming win was the lone bright spot
October wasn't much better than September for the Vikings. Maybe it was worse.

Between another 3A Sandhills Athletic Conference (SAC) school canceling due to COVID, internal team suspensions, and an ill-timed and unwarranted prank against a rival school, the Vikings' season came to a close two days before Halloween. There were more tricks thrown at the Vikings in October than there were treats.

The lone bright spot came Oct. 24 against Southern Lee with a 24-6 Homecoming win.

The rest of the tricks (losses) were doled out by Anson (20-14) a COVID team replacement game, a rare Wednesday night game against Richmond (69-6), and Hoke County (52-12).

And in what could be compared as Pinecrest giving the Vikings a "blood eagle" (Google it if you don't know), the Vikings took a beating at home with a 64-6 loss, effectively ending the Union Pines season. It will most likely be a game that many will remember for years to come, possibly erasing the memory of the 2010 early season brawl.

Take a look back at the action in the galleries below:

HSFB - Union Pines v Richmond - 06 OCT 21
HSFB - Union Pines v Southern Lee - 22 OCT 21
HSFB - Union Pines v Pinecrest - 29 OCT 21

Big Cones and The Celts rugby action returns to NAV

Southern Pines Rugby made a return to the National Athletic Village last month.

The "Big Cones" men's team was supposed to host Atlanta Renegade but a scheduling conflict resulted in a Green v White exhibition.

Meanwhile, "The Celts" women's team hosted the Augusta Furies.

You can see more rugby action at the links below:
RUG - M - Big Cones Green v White - 16 OCT 21
RUG - W - The Celts v August Furies - 16 OCT 21

28th Annual Viking Classic Band Festival

Nearly 20 area high school bands returned to William Wilhoit Stadium at Union Pines for the 28th Annual Viking Classic.

The competition took a year off last year due to COVID but returned in all its glory this year.

You can see more images from North Moore, Pinecrest, and Union Pines at the link here:
FEA - 28th Annual Viking Classic - 23 OCT 21

Parting Shots:
The agony of defeat

The Agony of Defeat -Vinko Bogataj was representing Yugoslavia in the 1970 World Ski Flying Championships in Oberstdorf, West Germany. The crash was immortalized on the opening of ABC Wide World of Sports for decades.
Like the old song says, "Memories, light the corners of my mind."

Years from now, when you're my age (55-plus), the memories of this season will change from very vivid to somewhat pale and murky.

"Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Could we?"


And you may ask yourself, "What could I have done differently?" Could I have made one more practice, one more weight room workout, one more sprint, one more film session?"

You'll never know because that time has now passed, and that opportunity is long gone.

As for remembering losses, sure, they hurt, some more than others. But then again, not everyone can be a winner, that's why it's called WINNING!

For returning players, you still have many more opportunities to win. Another season will come and another after that. In many instances, the teams will be the same but maybe with different faces staring across from you.

"Memories may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget."


It is now up to you to forget the less pleasant memories of the season and look to the future. Because in the future, there are better memories to be made.

And with that, the winter sports season is rapidly approaching. Here's to making better memories on the hardwood and the mat.


Until then, be safe out there!
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