The Midway and Lakewood soccer teams squared off for the second time this season as the Leopards travelled over to Spivey’s Corner on Monday afternoon. After dropping last week’s meeting 3-0, Lakewood put up a much tougher fight in the rematch, but the Raiders were able to prevail, winning 1-0.
Just before the halftime break, Midway was able to break a scoreless tie for the 1-0 lead. Hasley Palacios fired a header that found the back of the net with 1:05 left in the half to record the game’s only goal.
Throughout the second half, the Raiders appeared to be the aggressor as they had several missed scoring opportunities.
The Leopards, however, weren’t going away silently.
Lakewood battled back and also had a few opportunities themselves. With about 23:00 left, the Leopards had what appeared to be a huge breakaway chance, but Midway’s Fernando Toleda slid in to disrupt the play and preserve the 1-0 lead.
With 1:50 remaining Midway goalkeeper Jake Rivera came away with a huge stop shutting down the Leopards final scoring chance.
Lakewood head coach Jay Faircloth expressed how proud he was of his teams effort, calling it their best game of the season in the post game huddle.
“The team is finding their identity. I told the boys after the game that after seeing how hard they played and the effort they gave, I felt comfortable leaving this game and getting on that bus,” said Faircloth.
The emotions in the postgame huddle were high, but Faircloth acknowledged this as a positive thing.
“To see the emotions after this loss makes me happy because that tells me these guys wanted it,” said Faircloth. “They worked hard for it and came up just one goal short, just one mistake. I told them to hold their heads high, that I was proud of them and that we’re human — we’re going to make mistakes. But learning from them and finding our identity is what we’ve got to do.”
The Leopards, now 1-2 overall, will have an opportunity to do just that on Wednesday when they host James Kenan.
Over on the Midway side, coach Allen McLamb was glad his team got the win, but was still able to identify areas that his team needs some work.
“I think our biggest problem right now is we’re lacking that killer instinct,” said McLamb, referencing that his team missed several opportunities to put points on the board.
“We had several good looks tonight but our guys either dribbled the ball too long or were out of position and missed the open striker,” continued McLamb. “We were a little lackadaisical but overall give credit back to Lakewood — they were a much different team than when we played them last week and they fought well.”
For Midway, they now stand at 3-1 overall and will have back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday, first traveling to East Bladen before returning home for a makeup game against Triton.
Reach Daron Barefoot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.