Lion soccer gains momentum
Lions v. Smithville
The Lockhart Lion varsity boys soccer team traveled to Smithville on Thursday, Feb. 22 for a district game against the Smithville Tigers. The Lions were coming off an inspiring performance against the Lehman Lobos which resulted in a 1-0 win.
“This kind of game can sneak up on us,” Coach Antoun told his players before the game. “Don”t let your
guard down, and continue to play hard.”
The Lions came out strong against the Tigers. Many consecutive passes were linked together nicely as the Lions moved down the field, but the Tiger defense withstood the initial barrage to keep the game scoreless. Ten minutes in, however, the Lions finally broke through to take the lead. Midfielder Alex Pfefferkorn put a nice pass into forward David Moore”s run, and Moore netted the shot for a 1-0 lead. That lead would not last, as six minutes later the Tigers would find the equalizer. Keeper Mauricio Gutierrez made the initial save, but a miscommunication with a Lion defender left the ball in front of the goal, and a Smithville forward blasted the ball home from point blank range. The Lions retaliated 11 minutes later when sophomore Cameron Peters put a beautiful chip over the Tiger defense into space for Moore, who ran on and again scored the ball for his team-leading ninth goal. Five minutes later the same two would link up for another goal. This time Moore passed the ball into Peters, who dribbled two defenders on his way to goal. Peters neatly tucked his shot into the corner of the goal, marking his first varsity goal in his short career. After all the smiling was over the game resumed and would remain 3-1 until halftime.
“The scoreboard looks good, but we”re not playing as well as we could be,” Antoun told the team at the half. “Forget the scoreboard in the second half and let”s use this time as a tune up for Hendrickson. Let”s focus on getting the wings more involved; use the width.”
The second half began with the Lions playing a more patient style of soccer. Focusing on possession and movement, the Lions were able to link as many as 12 passes together without interruption. Seven minutes into the half the Lions closed the scoring. Pfefferkorn flicked on a great ball to a streaking Moore, who drilled a shot past the keeper on the lower right side. This marked Moore”s tenth goal of the year and Pfefferkorn”s second assist of the game. The rest of the match featured good solid play by the Lions, thanks in large part to the defensive contributions of Gabe Atwell, Robbie Clifton, Bobby “Bobbio” Henrikson and Jacob Berry.
“Good game everyone!” Antoun congratulated the team on the victory. “We actually looked much better in the second half. Get some rest, and let”s get ready for Hendrickson.”
Lions v. Hendrickson
The Lockhart Lion varsity boy”s soccer team hosted the Hendrickson Hawks on Saturday at Lion Stadium. The Lions went into the game behind wins over Smithville and Lehman and looked to keep the momentum against the district-leading Hawks. In a previous match up, the Lions fell to the Hawks 2-1 on a last minute goal.
“If we”re going to get back in this race, we have to score points against a team ahead of us in the standing,” Coach Antoun said before the game. “We CAN get this done!”
With the Lions missing varsity players, the game began. The Lions, playing with the wind in the first half, were able to mount a good attack early in the contest, thanks in large part to the work of Jose Jaimes on the wing and Cameron Peters in the midfield. As the half progressed, however, the Hawks were able to mount an attack against the stiff wind, and had it not been for the incredible play of keeper Jorge Guerrero the Lions would have fallen behind. As the first half continued, the Lion defense did find a way to limit Hendrickson”s scoring chances, as senior captain Gabe Atwell did a great job organizing the defense from the sweeper position. The first half ended 0-0 despite both teams hitting the post with at least one shot.
“Keep playing hard,” Antoun said at halftime. “We look really good right now, just keep it up. Defensively, let”s try to mark a little tighter and defend towards the inside. Use the sidelines to our advantage.”
The second half began with the Lions playing into a stiff wind. This did not deter the Lions, as they made several offensive pushes into Hendrickson territory. As the Lions worked to find a way to goal Guerrero, (now playing forward), fought through a foul and continued on to goal, but the foul was called instead of giving him the advantage. The ensuing goal did not count, even though the referee admitted to the mistake after the game was over. About five minutes later the Lions found themselves on the defensive side of the ball defending a Hawk throw-in. The ball went into the goal and the referee called it a goal. This sent the entire Lion squad, including their coach, into frenzy. After consulting with the assistant referee, the referee made the right call, and the goal was disallowed. The game continued, and from there on out it was nothing short of a goaltending clinic courtesy of Moore and the Hawk keeper. Several shots appeared destined for goal, only to be turned away by a diving stop or incredible reaction. In the end, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. A total of five shots hit a post or crossbar, and two goals were scored only to be taken away.
“I told you so!” Antoun said after the game. “I”ve said from the start that when we play well and play together we”re as good as anybody. Today we tied the best team in our district, proving we”re just as good a team as they are. This is three games in a row now that we”ve played well. Remember the little things you did today to improve your game and keep working on them.”
The Lions ended last week 4-4-3 in district play and 4-6-3 overall. They faced the New Braunfels Unicorns in a non-district rematch of last year”s area finals before returning to district play at Manor on Friday.
(Courtesy of Ramez Antoun)