Lawrence High's boys soccer team played with a purpose on Tuesday at Youth Sports Inc. field.
Following a lackluster effort in a shutout last week, the Lions challenged Blue Valley Northwest for 80 minutes in a 4-2 setback.
"It's encouraging to see such an improvement," LHS coach Chris Bertrand said. "It was like a different team out there. It was a good all-around performance with very few errors, but the errors were costly. It was nice to see goals go in after last week."
Northwest (2-2) stunned LHS (0-3) just 28 seconds into the contest when senior Jordan Jones connected on a 25-yarder.
Six minutes later, LHS sophomore Joey Kelly scored on a missed shot by senior Zach Hemenway. A line judge ruled that Kelly was offsides, but after a brief discussion with the official the goal was allowed. Kelly now has two goals this season to lead the Lions.
The Huskies tacked on another goal in the 30th minute and maintained a 2-1 lead at halftime.
"We've put in a lot of time and had a lot of talks about what we need to do," LHS senior wing Scott Kramer said. "I think we came around. We still have a long way to go."
Northwest extended its lead to 3-1 on a Justin McGinnis goal in the 51st minute.
Pesky LHS threatened in the 76th minute on Kramer's header for his first varsity goal. However, McGinnis provided an insurance goal in the waning seconds to secure the Huskies' victory.
"We need to work a little bit more capitalizing on the defensive errors on the other team's part," Kramer said. "I think our defense did a great job."
Northwest outshot LHS, 15-11.
"Defensively we did well, but all it takes is one tiny error and there's a goal," Bertrand said. "Strong teams will capitalize on that. The confidence was there. We took people on and we passed the ball around."
Bertrand cited two players for their performance.
"I'm very pleased with Jason Colwell sweeping and Clinton Akerberg at striker," Bertrand said. "They played great games."
The game became heated at times. The Huskies received three yellow cards and a red card. LHS received two yellows and a red.
Hemenway was issued the Lions' red card for striking a Northwest player in the shin in retaliation for a push. According to state rules, a player must sit out the remainder of the game and the next game.
Light standards have been installed at the two YSI fields used for high school soccer. Bertrand said he hoped the Lions would be able to play under the lights later this month.
In the junior varsity contest, LHS tied Northwest, 1-1. Arda Altun scored the goal for the Lions (0-2-1). Lawrence's Derek Scott and Mattijs van de Liefvoort were cited for their defensive play.
Next for LHS is Shawnee Mission West at 4 p.m. Thursday at YSI.
-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org