The Leopard soccer team brought the victory home for the first time this season and what made the win even sweeter, it was against county rival Midway on Raider home turf. The final score was 1-3, with the Leopards scoring all three of their goals in the first half, while the Raiders scored their only goal halfway through the second period.
“We finally got out of the hole,” Lakewood head coach Jesus Sandoval said after the game. “Earlier in the season, we lost to Midway at home; the boys came today to take that win back and even up the score.”
Coach Sandoval has said all season that his team wasn’t able to “finish.” They were good on offense, good on defense, but they just couldn’t get the ball to hit the back of the net. The Lakewood team that played Midway in the first half didn’t look like that team.
Both teams started out aggressive, but as the rains moved in at the 27-minute mark, the Leopards kicked it up a notch, although neither team seemed to notice the wet grass and slick ball.
The first score was a perfect header into the goal by Rolando Ortiz from a pass by Manuel Viruet with 15 minutes left in the first half. Ortiz scored the second goal about three minutes later with a kick from the left of the goal as he raced down field and the third goal was a penalty kick scored by Viruet.
Goal keeper Silviano Ortiz had several spectacular saves and Sandoval credits him with saving the game for the Leopards. “Our best player during the game was the goal keeper. He saved us the game. Midway came out really strong in the second half. Those boys are really going to be a force to be reckoned with next season.”
Sandoval added, “We going to try to keep getting better, but next season I think we’re going to make some adjustment training-wise. We will change our training methodology to adopt a more aggressive team than what we’ve got now.”
For Midway, Jimmy Blackman scored their only goal with an assist from Chris Dixon.
Head coach for Midway, Alan McLamb, was not pleased with the way his team played in the first half. “It was the sorriest first half we’ve played all year,” he said.
“They were flat, weren’t running, weren’t moving. The kids came out in the second half and they played good defense. We got our one goal and there were several shots we should have scored. We won every ball in the second half and that’s the way you’ve got to play soccer.”
Both teams are 1-7-1 in the conference. Next Monday, Midway goes to Pender and Lakewood will play at James Kenan.