Archive for Friday, September 9, 2005

Lions can’t ride early momentum to victory

September 9, 2005

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Lawrence High knows just how close it was to pulling out a victory Thursday night at Youth Sports Inc. fields.

It turned out, however, that a few small miscues made all the difference in a 2-1 loss to Free State.

"It really was just one mistake, and that's all it took for them to get in the lead," LHS sweeper Kevin Calton said. "Emotions ran really high. It was just one mistake."

The one defensive slip-up in the 52nd minute still didn't overshadow what was an otherwise solid game played by the young Lions.

"I think they are really learning well on the fly," Lawrence coach David Platt said. "We have a ways to go, but Free State has a lot of speed up top, and that was hard for us to counterbalance and react to."

Still, after allowing an early goal, the Lions gained both a tie and momentum at the end of the first half.

Lawrence High's Kevin Calton, left, battles Free State's Kyle Ceesay for possession during the first half of Thursday night's game at the Youth Sports Inc. fields. Free State won the game, 2-1.

Lawrence High's Kevin Calton, left, battles Free State's Kyle Ceesay for possession during the first half of Thursday night's game at the Youth Sports Inc. fields. Free State won the game, 2-1.

Following a save, Lawrence keeper Colin Flanders boomed the ball downfield, sending it all the way into the Free State box.

On the third hop, forward Baba Diallo tapped it to the side of a rushing Free State keeper, finding the net and giving the Lions a 1-1 tie.

Lawrence continued the half with increased intensity, helped in part by the ejection of Free State coach Jason Pendleton.

The coach lost his temper after play was stopped when Flanders went down momentarily because of an injury on a save. The official allowed Flanders to punt the ball once play resumed - because no foul was called on the play - but Pendleton continued to argue the play a minute later.

After receiving two yellow cards and then a red, Pendleton was forced to leave the sidelines. Because of the red card, he might not be able to coach in Free State's next game.

With emotions high, the Lions nearly took the lead in the last minute of the half, but Michael Valverde's shot from outside the box sailed just over the goal.

"There was a lot of momentum," Calton said. "If that half wouldn't have ended, I'm pretty sure we probably would have scored again. That's just the way it works."

Despite the loss, Platt remained pleased with his team's effort, especially on the defensive end.

J-W CUP

Lawrence High and Free State are tied 1-1 in the current Journal-World Cup standings following Thursday's victories by the Firebirds' boys soccer team and the Lions' girls volleyball team.

"We battled hard," Platt said. "We showed some heart and showed some character."

Forwards Kyle Cross and Alex Clayton scored goals for Free State. John Sneegas contributed both assists.

Pendleton refused to comment after the game, and also did not allow Free State players to speak with the media.

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