Lions start second round with victory
Lions v. Lehman
The Lockhart Lion boys varsity soccer team hosted the Lehman Lobos Friday night at Lion Stadium. In a previous match-up, the Lions tied the Lobos 1-1. The Lions were looking to recover from a three game losing streak.
“I know you”re hungry for a win, and I know you are ready to go and get it,” Coach Ramez Antoun told his team before kick-off. “Rem
ember the things we worked on in practice this week.”
The Lions came out aggressive and active from the start. Every ball was challenged for, and Lehmen”s physical style of play was matched by the Lions. The Lions were able to establish the pace of the game, as midfielders Cameron Peters and Alex Pfefferkorn kept the ball moving. Forwards David Moore and Jorge Guerrero also did their part, making good runs into space and receiving the ball well. In the 14th minute, junior wing Jose Jaimes made a great run down the left side and was rewarded with a good pass. The subsequent foul occurred in the penalty area, and Alex Pfefferkorn lined up for the penalty kick. Pfefferkorn blasted the ball low to the left side, notching his sixth goal of the season. From there the game”s pace increased, and the Lobos began counterattacking, making quality runs into space. The defensive unit was up for the challenge, led by captains Cody Fehlis and Gabe Atwell. Sophomore keeper Mauricio Gutierrez made several incredible stops to keep the 1-0 lead intact until halftime.
“Now this is how I knew we could play!” Antoun told the team during the break. “Good things happen we come out aggressive. Keep up the work, and stay disciplined on defense. Do not over commit and leave our goal vulnerable. Offensively, keep making diagonal runs. Their defense is having a hard time with that.”
The second half began with the Lions again setting the pace with their aggressive style of play. Lehman, however, was up for the challenge. Every ball was fought for, and several hard fouls were called. As the half progressed, the Lions did have more scoring chances, but good defensive play kept the Lion lead at 1-0. The Lobos did have scoring chances as well, but Gutierrez and the rest of the defense, (Robbie Clifton, Bobby Henrikson), shut down the Lobo attack on every occasion. The Lions” best chance to increase their lead came with five minutes left, but Moore”s penalty kick was stopped by the Lehman keeper. In the end, the Lions won, 1-0.
“Well done, men!” Antoun congratulated his team after the game. “This game is what we needed to get back on track. Every one played well, and we executed tremendously. Enjoy this, and be ready to get back to work on Monday.”
Lions v. Connally
The Lockhart Lions boys varsity soccer team headed into their eighth district game Tuesday night versus the Connally Cougars. The Lions were coming off a hard fought loss to Del Valle.
“Everyone knows their role,” Coach Antoun said before the game. “Everyone knows the game plan. It is now in your hands.”
The game began with the Lions defending against the wind. Forty-two seconds into the game, the Cougars jumped on top. A long throw in resulted in a header into the Lion goal, defended by Mauricio Gutierrez. The Connally forward was completely open, and the Cougars were up 1-0. Ten minutes later, the Cougars struck again. A long shot came in from the left side. The Lion keeper stepped up only to watch the ball sail over his head in the wind and into the backside of the goal. From there the game evened out, with the Lions finding their pace, but it did not last long. With ten minutes to go until halftime, the Lions lost their focus. A cross came in from the right and found another wide open Cougar forward who headed the ball home. One minute later, a rebound off a shot was bicycled in for a 4-0 lead. One minute before halftime, another rebound off a shot was nailed home for a 5-0 lead.
“Can someone please explain to me what we”re doing out there?” said a visibly irate Antoun. “We”re not putting our game plan to work, we”re not defending at all, and it looks as though some of you have quit playing. What are you going to do about this? You can quit, or you can fight back. You can play hard, play smart, and make a dent. That”s all. Make a choice.”
The Lions came out in the second half a little stronger. Numerous passes were linked down the right side resulting in a good shot on goal by Jorge Guerrero, but the Cougar keeper came up with a brilliant save. Nevertheless, the Lions kept on the attack, led by Alex Pfefferkorn and Cameron Peters. With 11 minutes left the Lions earned a free kick. Pfefferkorn chipped the ball to Moore, who headed the ball home to make it 5-1. Five minutes later the Lions would strike again. A rebound off of a Matthew Carneiro shot was hammered home by Pfefferkorn to cut the lead to 5-2. Unfortunately for the Lions, it was too little, too late. The game ended as is, 5-2.
“The lesson from this game is never quit” Antoun said. “If we could have played the entire game the way we played the last 15 minutes, the outcome probably would have been different. They did not sub out their starters or let up. We earned those goals. That is the way we must play to be competitive. Remember the way we played to end the game.”
The Lions are currently 3-4-2 in district and 3-6-2 overall. The Lions next travel to Smithville on Thursday before hosting Hendrickson on Saturday.
(Courtesy of Ramez Antoun)