Jared Nelson and Josh Hewins have been waiting in the wings. Now they're starring at forward and wing.
The two juniors helped lead Lawrence to a 4-0 soccer victory over Topeka High on Monday afternoon at YSI. The Lions, 6-3-1, have outscored their opponents, 28-16.
"When you watch the World Cup, it looks like they have so much time and space because they spread the field," LHS coach Mark Craig. "We did that and it opened things up. Even though the scoring was up the middle, the attack from the wings opened it up."
Nelson had a goal to give the Lions a 2-0 lead and added an assist.
"He's got good speed and skill at forward," senior David D'Ercole said. "It gives him and (Matt) Schwartz a rotation and keeps them rested."
Since being called up from the junior varsity, Nelson has scored two goals in three games.
"I found it's a lot easier to score when you're with a high quality of players and get better balls," Nelson said. "You have more confidence in your players and work more as a team."
Nelson and the Lions dominated the second half, starting with a goal by Brett Osheol. Nelson, Schwartz and Peter Lenz added goals for the easy victory.
"It was a comfortable game," D'Ercole said. "We put together two halves and came on in the second half rather than the first."
Lawrence and the Trojans were scoreless at halftime.
"We were pretty relaxed at halftime," Craig said. "We talked about a few minor adjustments. But we knew if we stayed with it, things would go our way."
Hewins, another JV callup, has added a new dimension for the Lions at wing.
"We've gotten great speed on the wings from Josh," D'Ercole said of the sophomore. "He got the ball across the field well."
"We're starting to gain confidence in our wing midfielders," Craig said. "The kids didn't feel they could pose a threat, so they didn't get the ball. But if you don't get the ball, you don't have a chance and they're getting their chance now."
With the new additions, junior Casey Crowghost has moved to defense. The defense registered it's third shutout of the season.
"Casey has stepped up as a sweeper," D'Ercole said. "We've had only one goal scored since he's been back there in three games. We always thought he was a great player at forward, be he adds so much to our defense."
D'Ercole had two assists for the Lions, pushing his team-high total to 10. Schwartz's goal was his team-leading 10th.
The Lions will entertain Olathe East on Thursday at YSI.
In Monday's JV game, Topeka High won, 2-1. Matt Lechtenberg scored the lone Lions' goal on an assist from Andrew Watkins.