Lion soccer ends winning season
The Lockhart Lion varsity soccer team traveled to Seguin on Tuesday, March 28, to play New Braunfels in the second round of the playoffs with the Area Championship on the line. The Lions won their first round game against Lanier while the Unicorns earned a first round bye as district champions.
“We feel good about this game”, said Coach Robert Ardis. “We tied these g
uys earlier in the year, and we”re on a bit of a roll. But it will be tough with Dwin Roland on the bench. He scored two of our three goals against New Braunfels the first time.”
With the bleachers full of fans, the game began. The Unicorns were able to establish themselves early, immediately putting the Lions on defense with crisp passing and constant movement. Had it not been for the amazing play of goalkeeper James “Jammer” Kellum, the Lions would have been down multiple goals early in the contest. However, as the half progressed the Lions were able to get an offensive push, once hitting the post and on another occasion just missing on a breakaway. The half ended in a scoreless tie.
“Defensively we”re ok. Josh and Cody are doing well, and Jammer is putting on a show. We need to get into more of an offensive flow, and when opportunity arises we must finish. Let”s try to get the ball to JC and play off him”, added Coach Ardis.
The second half began with the game more balanced. Both teams worked the ball well, displaying good skill and intelligent play. In the third minute, however, the Unicorns pulled ahead. New Braunfels earned a throw in from the left side and put a long throw on goal. The ball bounced into the Lion goal, and the referee called it a goal, despite several Lion defenders arguing that the ball was never touched. Nevertheless, the goal counted, and the Lions trailed, 1-0.
“I couldn”t tell if the ball was touched or not, but that doesn”t matter. What does matter is that the referee called it a goal and we”ve got to get the equalizer,” said Coach Ardis.
As the game continued the Lions turned up the intensity, challenging for every ball and going all out. In the fifteenth minute of the second half this effort paid off. Alex Pfefferkorn challenged the goalkeeper for a ball and won, knocking the ball high in the air in front of the Unicorn goal. Richie Martinez wasn”t able to get to it, but distracted the defense enough to allow Pfefferkorn to get in there and head it home, tying the game at 1-1.
The rest of the half was nothing less than a track meet, with both teams going end to end in a very fast paced but evenly-skillful display of soccer. With five minutes left, the Unicorns made a run up the right wing, keeping the ball very close to the sideline. The winger cut back and passed the ball to a Unicorn forward, who sent a screamer past a diving Kellum for a 2-1 lead. From that point on, the Lions pushed to the offensive, earning throw-ins and corner kicks deep in Unicorn territory. The best scoring chance came with only seconds remaining, with JC Vogel redirecting a corner kick just inches wide of the goal. The game ended with a 2-1 Unicorn victory.
“We played great. Tonight just wasn”t our night, but you can”t blame the players. Everyone stepped up and did their job. It”s unfortunate that someone had to lose this game”, said Coach Ardis. “We”ve had a good run, and for the seniors, I”m glad we were able to get this far. They deserved it. These are a special group of young men, and coaching them has been a real privilege. We should congratulate every last one of them for their accomplishments. We would also like to thank all the fans who made this a very memorable year.”
The Lions finished the season 13-5-4 and Bi-District Champions.
(Courtesy of Ramez Antoun)