Varsity Lion soccer rebounds on season
District play ends with victories over Hays, Connolly
Lions v. Del Valle
The Lockhart Lions boys varsity soccer team hosted the Del Valle Cardinals Thursday night. In a previous match up, the Cardinals defeated the Lions 4-0.
“I told you guys last week that we need wins to finish the season if we have any chance to make the playoffs,” Coach Antoun said bef
ore the game. “Here is a team that is ahead of us in the standings. For you seniors, this might be your last home game. Make a memory.”
The Lions were motivated from the start. Even though field conditions were not good after the rain, the Lions were moving quickly and playing very well but were not able to make good on an early scoring chance. The Cardinals did find their pace too, but the Lion defense, (Gabe Atwell, Cody Fehlis, Bobbio Henrikson, Christyan Gutierrez), was up for the challenge. Those few shots that did get to the Lion goal were turned away by Mauricio Gutierrez, the Lion keeper. The first half ended in a scoreless tie.
“Good half, men,” Antoun said during the halftime break. “Once again, our good play has put us in a position to win. Let”s win this half, and win the game.”
The second half began with the same style of play featured in the first. The pace was quick, but both teams were playing at a high level. Fifteen minutes into the second half, the Lions earned a throw-in deep in Cardinal territory. Seth Guckian put a great long throw to the mouth of the Del Valle goal, and David Moore was there to head the ball just over the keeper and into the net for his 14th goal of the season. On the restart following the goal Del Valle really began their offensive push, but the Lions were able to absorb the attack and work the ball around to the open man. As the second half wound down Del Valle did have scoring chances, but the Lion defense turned them away on every occasion. The game ended with no further scoring, and the Lions won, 1-0.
“Good job, this was a great team win,” Antoun said after the game. “We need to do this again tomorrow to have a chance at playoffs. Get some rest, and be ready to go tomorrow.”
Lions v. Connally
Ready to win, the Lions were. They traveled to Pflugerville to take on the Connally Cougars in the last district game of the season. In a previous game, the Cougars defeated the Lions, 5-2. This time, they earned a victory to finish the season.
“Here”s the deal – this might be our last game,” Coach Antoun told the team before they took the field. “We cannot concern ourselves what other teams in our district are doing. None of it matters if we do not win. Let me remind you that this team was beating us 5-0 at halftime in the last game. Also, no one in this district has beaten us twice. Walk off this field as winners!”
The Lions came out a little sluggish, as has been the case this season when games are played on turf. Even though the wind was at their backs, the Lions were playing a very defensive game to start, but the defense was up for the challenge. Everyone took an active role in defending the Lion goal early, and the game remained scoreless because of it. Nine minutes in, the Lions took the lead. A long goal kick by Alex Pfefferkorn was received by Seth Guckian. Guckian brought the ball down, turned, and fired a 45 yard shot that fooled the Cougar keeper and fell into the back of the net. With the Lions up 1-0, Connally turned up the intensity, and seven minutes later, it paid off. A Cougar forward made a left cut and found himself dribbling across the field about 20 yards from goal. His shot eluded Lion keeper Mauricio Gutierrez and the game was tied, 1-1. With the game tied, both teams settled down a little, but both teams were still playing extremely well. As the half wound down the Cougars did have scoring chances, but the defensive play of Jacob Berry and Johnny Juarez ensured the half would end in a 1-1 tie.
“Good job,” Antoun told his team at the half. “Again, we have a chance to win because we are playing together. Seniors, you may have 40 minutes left in your high school career. Make something of it. Everyone else, let”s send these seniors off the field as winners.”
The second half began with the Lions on the attack. Four minutes in, the Lions earned a throw-in. Guckian put a long throw towards goal where David “Cyclops” Moore was waiting. Moore gathered the throw and was able to put the ball on goal for a 2-1 lead. At that point, the Lions worked on making good passes, possessing the ball and keeping it away from the Cougars. Defensively, the Lions looked good, as every defender did their job and Gutierrez, the Lion keeper, turned away every shot he faced. As the game neared the end, Connally make one final push, but once again the Lion defense held their ground. The game ended with a Lockhart victory, 2-1.
“Great job everyone!,” Antoun said after the game. “We spoke about a month ago about heart, desire, and working together. Since then, we have only lost one district game. That says a lot about the character of this team. You had every reason to give up on this season, but you didn”t. We came within one point of the playoffs. We were dead in the water a month ago. Gentlemen, thank a senior before you leave today. They have laid the foundation for your future success in this sport. They taught you what it means to work hard, to never quit, and to work as a team. We are all lucky to have them as a part of our program. Coaching these guys over the last few years have been a real privilege.”
The Lions finish their season 7-5-4 in district play and 7-8-4 overall. It is worth noting that Lions were 5-1-2 over the last month.
Thank you to all who have supported these young men this season.
(Courtesy of Ramez Antoun)