Lakewood, Flores too much for Midway

By Daren Barefoot - Sports Writer

Lakewood’s Marco Valezuela battles Midway’s Luis Acosta for possession of the ball.

Midway’s Juan Medellin battles a duo of Lakewood defenders.

The Lakewood soccer team traveled to Spivey’s Corner on Wednesday evening, taking on cross-county rival Midway in non-conference soccer action. After a game that was back and forth much of the way, the Leopards were able to cash in on a stellar performance by Francis Flores to defeat the Raiders 5-3. Flores had four goals.

The first half featured a series of momentum swings as Midway was the aggressor early, collecting several corner shots and shots on goal. Lakewood, however, held the Raiders at bay.

A few minutes later, the tables seem to turn, as it was now the Leopards upping the intensity. At the 30:20 mark of the first half, it paid off, as Flores scored the game’s first goal to give Lakewood the early 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Midway found themselves with several missed opportunities to tie the game back up, but the Raiders were unable to capitalize.

Lakewood made them pay. With 21:32 remaining in the opening half, the Leopards increased their lead to 2-0 after Flores scored his second goal of the game.

At the 14:37 mark of the half, the Raiders finally found the back of the net after forcing a turnover deep in the Leopard zone, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

With 12:35 remaining, Midway missed another chance to tie things up as the shot on goal on a breakaway sailed over the goalpost, preserving Lakewood’s 2-1 lead.

With 9:16 left in the half, Midway’s woes continued as a defensive miscommunication turned into a Leopard goal, again off the foot of Flores, pushing Lakewood’s lead back to 3-1.

The Raiders once again responded, scoring a goal with 5:59 remaining in the half to cut the lead to 3-2.

A frightening moment for Midway would delay the end of the first half. With 1:07 remaining, Midway’s Luis Acosta and a Lakewood defender were involved in a nasty collision as they both dove for the ball. Acosta was unable to get back up and had to be taken from the stadium in an ambulance.

After the delay, Midway was unable to cash in on a couple of scoring opportunities and the half would come to a close with Lakewood on top 3-2.

Each team traded scoring opportunities in the second half but no goals would be scored until under the 20:00 mark.

With 16:04 left, Lakewood found the back of the net to increase their lead to 4-2.

Just as had happened all game, Midway came right back, cutting the deficit back to 4-3 with 14:21 remaining.

Like clockwork, Lakewood responded, notching another goal to extend its lead right back to two goals at 5-3 with 13:21 remaining. That score would hold.

After the game, Midway coach Allen Mclamb credited Lakewood with the win and admitted that the Raiders had some things to figure out, especially in the expected loss of Acosta.

“Lakewood is a good team,” McLamb started. “Both teams fought hard tonight but we were gassed in the second half. Until we figure some things out in the back it’s going to be hard for us,” he concluded.

For Lakewood, Coach Jay Faircloth was very pleased with his team, noting that this was his first victory as the Leopard soccer coach in Spivey’s Corner.

“We’ve worked hard all summer and have had some tough work outs so my guys are in pretty good shape,” stated Faircloth.

Coach Faircloth also conceded that he’d like to see his guys consistently play to the level they played in the second half of the game.

Coach Faircloth added that Midway has a classy organization and Coach McLamb is a great coach. “I have a great deal of respect for him,” noted Faircloth.

“We have to play the whole game the play we played the second half. We can’t repeatedly give teams opportunities.”

For Lakewood, Lloosman Zabala complimented Flores’ four goals with one goal and one assist of his own.

The Leopards will have a week off before returning to action next Wednesday when they host Midway.

For Midway, they are right back in action as they travel to take on Cape Fear on Thursday.

Lakewood’s Marco Valezuela battles Midway’s Luis Acosta for possession of the ball.’s Marco Valezuela battles Midway’s Luis Acosta for possession of the ball.

Midway’s Juan Medellin battles a duo of Lakewood defenders.’s Juan Medellin battles a duo of Lakewood defenders.

By Daren Barefoot

Sports Writer

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