Archive for Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rain abbreviates LHS victory

August 26, 2006

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With dark ominous clouds above him, Lawrence High's William Nagengast scored a goal at the 24:49 mark to break a scoreless tie in the second half Friday night.

Less than four minutes later, Sunflower League officials suspended the game due to lightning.

And 20 minutes after, they called the game, giving the Lawrence Lions a 1-0 home victory against Manhattan High at YSI.

As the Lions observed the skies, a truncated match seemed obvious.

"At halftime I knew," senior sweeper Kevin Calton said. "I was pretty sure (lightning) was going to come rolling in."

According to league rules, each team has a Strike Alert lightning tracker. If the handheld device measures lightning within six miles, the scorer's table notifies the league official. Once lighting has been reported, Sunflower rules dictate a 20-minute delay to see if the bolts cease and play can resume.

Instead, the lightning intensified.

Having games called due to weather is nothing new to Lawrence High. That odd occurrence happened several times last year.

"We're like the nexus of weirdness," coach David Platt said.

Although the players wanted to settle the closely-matched game on the field, they understood why the officials called it.

"I don't want to see anybody dead on the field," Calton said.

The shortened game did not overshadow the significance of the victory. After winning only one game last season - albeit against Manhattan, the Lions have already matched last year's win total.

"Hopefully it motivates our team enough that they'll keep on pushing," senior goalkeeper Colin Flanders said. "In the past it hasn't paid off, but hopefully this year it will."

The senior-laden team played well, shutting out Manhattan for 62 minutes of play and controlling the pace of the game - something Platt has emphasized during practice.

"We feel very good about the way we possessed and kept the ball of their feet," Platt said. "We shut down the middle very well."

The senior Nagengast broke the scoreless tie with the game's lone goal. Off a Taylor Bussinger pass, Nagengast fired the ball through the upper right hand corner of the netting just beyond the goalkeeper's reach.

"I just launched it,"Nagengast said.

That play led to the victory. But if the game had lasted a full 80 minutes, the Lions remained confident the outcome would have been the same. And they would have preferred to defeat Manhattan in a full contest.

"I kind of wish we had a chance to celebrate on the field, play the game out," Nagengast said. "But I'll take it either way."

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