WALLACE — Lakewood’s Leopards entered the ‘Dog pen Monday night knowing they were facing a strong, physical and well-coached soccer team with a perfect 8-0 record. But the Leps proved their own mettle, though they lost 4-0.
“It was a moral victory for us,” attested Leopard coach Jay Faircloth after the game. “We played an outstanding team and we held our own, particularly on defense.
“This team beat Rosewood 9-0, so for us to have held them to only 4 goals shows how tough we were playing.”
Wallace, Faircloth said, was big, fast, aggressive and “all over the place,” but the Leopards let the home team know they were there and a team to reckon with from start to finish.
“We were out-muscled, but we never quit. My guys gave 110 percent from start to finish, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask. They battled hard and I was was very proud of them.”
Faircloth said the young Leopards made some mistakes which, in turn, cost them some goals, but he also pointed out that his team only had 4 shots on goal all night, a testament to the strength of the Bulldog defense.
“But our defense was good too,” Faircloth stressed. “Our goalie, Junior Ortiz, had 12 blocks, and I’m talking about he blocked some extremely hard shots. They were like fire coming off those guys feet, but Junior was insane, he was blocking them at every turn.
“And Manny Viruet, another defender, played hard too. In fact, every single player gave it all they had tonight.”
Faircloth said he saw vast improvement from his young team this week. “We changed our format and it worked to perfection tonight,” he said of Monday’s game.
The Leopards, 0-1 in conference play, travel to Trask Wednesday afternoon for their second conference game of the season. Game time is 5 p.m.