By Matt Gardner
Journal-World Sports Writer
Despite not having the services of its head coach and a returning starter, the Lawrence High boys soccer team still put up a fight Friday at YSI.
Trailing 3-1, the Lions scored once, but their second-half rally fell short as they dropped their season opener to Manhattan, 3-2.
"They played the first 20 minutes of the game real hard," LHS assistant coach Kelly Jernigan said. "We moved the ball real well, but later we just didn't utilize our speed enough."
Jernigan substituted for head coach Chris Bertrand in the Lions home opener. Bertrand sat out the game as a result of a red card he received last spring while serving as the girls soccer coach.
LHS (0-1) also was without Jesse Schumaker, who was suspended because of a red card he received in last season's final game against Olathe North.
After trading possession back and forth with the Lions in the opening minutes Friday, the Indians got their first shot on goal courtesy of a penalty kick at the 35:19 mark.
The kick, taken by Manhattan midfielder Aaron Wiens sailed through the Lawrence defense and pass goalkeeper Billy Kelly for the first score of the game.
Eleven minutes later, Lawrence's Mike Chatman tied the game with a kick that glided into the right corner of the goal at the 24:40 mark.
Manhattan's Dan Bonebraile put the Indians up by one with 3:42 remaining in the half with a goal assisted by Young Kyun Jeong.
Bonebraile wasted no time in the second half to strike again, scoring as Kelly came out of the goal to attack the ball.
Down 3-1, the Lions moved within one of the Indians as Aaron Seibert scored a goal with 29:41 remaining.
The Lions, however, failed to capitalize on seven shots in the final ten minutes and couldn't gain a comeback win.
"We're definitely gonna build on this game," Jernigan said. "We've been working hard and they were really ready to get out here."
Jernigan also liked what he saw from the Lions squad considering it was early in the season.
"They did a good job overall and they're gonna get better," Jernigan said. "We need to play together a little bit more, but communication comes with time and so do things like better passing."
Bertrand and Schumaker will return for the Lions next contest, a home game at 4 p.m. Tuesday against Blue Valley Northwest at YSI.
In junior varsity action, Manhattan defeated Lawrence High, 5-4. Aaron Payne, Roland deBoer, Chris Reinhard and Vencsi Ivanov all scored for the Lions (0-1). Randy Baum has an assist and Jason Colwell two assists for the JV team.