The Lakewood Leopards’ youth in varsity soccer team seem to plague them again, as they dropped a match to the James Kenan Tigers Wednesday, 5-1, Lakewood’s fourth straight loss after a win in their opener.
For the first half, Lakewood and James Kenan played to a stalemate, with both teams sitting at a goal apiece. This start looked promising, with Lakewood poised to pull out of their recent rut and begin a season comeback.
This fell off as the second half got further along. After James Kenan managed to score a second goal with massive opposition from Lakewood, it looked as if this match could come to who could score just one goal over their opponent.
“I started what I thought was our best opportunity,” explained Lakewood head coach Jay Faircloth regarding his team’s unsuccessful streak. “This season had a good starting lineup. If you saw, we had a good first half; we went in 1-1 and we were holding them defensively and moving the ball well. We’re still making some stupid decisions, like we’re still playing around with the ball and everything else.”
“But you know, for the first half, I was proud of them. It was like a continuation of our game against Midway, but the second half, they scored a goal and my guys quit,” continued Faircloth.
After this Faircloth went on to defend some of his players he felt were giving it their all.
“Not all of them, let me rephrase that. I got two boys who don’t quit for anything, and that’s Jorge Ramirez and Logan Thomas. They don’t quit, they give me everything they have, they stay with it,” said Faircloth.
“I got subs, Mason Cashwell and Reid Jackson that trade in and fight for everything they got, but it takes 11,” said the Leopards coach. “It doesn’t take two, doesn’t take five, it takes 11. I think our biggest problem right now is our attitude; we can’t quit, we can’t give up, we know we’re going to have a long season, we know we have a young team and we need to be our best, but they quit on me and I don’t coach that. My job as a coach isn’t just to win; it’s to help these boys become someone and that’s the hardest part of this job, but I’m going to keep at it.”
Faircloth saw improvements with his team despite the loss, but realizes they still have a long way to go with conference play fast approaching.
“The first half we played well, when my defense is where it needs to be it’s great. We’re getting more aggressive now, we just got to take those things that turn into big bang plays and make them happen. We’re one game away from conference and I have no idea where we’re going. Hardest season I ever had, but I’m trying,” Faircloth remarked.
Lakewood had one injury to Erick Garcia, who hurt his ankle during the game.
“It’s like I told the boys, injuries are going to happen. This is the most aggressive sport out there aside from football, but football has pads. He’s (Garcia) an aggressive player, he’s a good defender. Of course, we didn’t play any slouches, they’re an aggressive team too and he just twisted his ankle. I hope it’s not too bad — may just be a light sprain — but only time will tell,” Faircloth commented.
Lakewood will have their chance for a rematch Sept. 5, this time at James Kenan.
Reach Chris Froat at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.