Archive for Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lions knock off defending state champs

Winning streak reaches three

September 13, 2005

After posting back-to-back 10-0 victories, the Lansing High boys soccer team was ready for a good old fashioned close game.

That's exactly what they got Tuesday night when they played host to Maranatha Academy at Lansing Middle School. The game was delayed 35 minutes for lightning, but once play began, the Lions gave a gritty effort in edging the defending Class 4A state champions, 3-1.

"I think the fans liked this game a lot better because it was a lot more open and suspenseful," LHS coach Randy Brown said. "But, two, it was good for our development. We need close games against good people so that we're able to strive and do better, and that's what we did tonight against a good team."

Maranatha dominated the first 10 minutes of the game, and Lansing goalkeeper Alex Burton made two early saves that kept the game scoreless. After that, the Lions took control and unleashed a relentless offensive attack by seniors Brad Mock, Ty Thackston, Mike Bayless and freshman Clayton Hall. They made aggressive run after aggressive run at the goal, but were unable to convert. The best scoring opportunity came when Hall slipped a pass to junior Andy Dick, who fired a perfect through-ball to Thackston, but Thackston's point-blank shot sailed inches wide.

Finally, the Lions got on the board with 50 seconds left in the first half when Mike Bayless blasted a shot from 18 yards out that deflected of Maranatha's goalkeeper. Mock gathered the ball off the deflection and tapped it home for a 1-0 advantage.

LHS remained aggressive throughout the second half but didn't muster another goal until the 58th minute when Bayless slipped a pass through the middle to Thackston. Thackston's low shot hit a divot in the grass and took a friendly bounce over the diving goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.

"They've got some quality players out there," coach Randy Brown said, "but the team was hustling. I think we were winning the balls when we had to win the balls, and they sandbagged a little bit too long. We stayed on them and kept putting the ball in front of the goal."

Maranatha turned up its energy after the second goal and began to launch an attack of its own. Eventually they scored with 8:27 left in the game and pulled within 2-1.

The Lions (4-1) weren't done, however. Sensing their lead was in danger, Mock, Thackston and senior Gabe Garza began pushing the ball harder toward the Maranatha goal. Eventually, with 47 seconds remaining, junior Steffen Schumann broke through down the right side and drove toward the goal. He was taken down in the box, which earned LHS a penalty kick. Dick fired the PK to the low left post and gave the Lions a 3-1 lead.

Since losing to Mill Valley, 1-0, on Sept. 1, the Lions have won three games in a row and outscored their opponents 23-1. Part of the reason for their domination has been their relentless effort both on the offensive and defensive ends. They've also shown improved communication.

"We've just got to work with each other all the time. That's the best way to play" said senior defender Steve Parker. "You've got to know each other. You've got to talk all the time and just work as a team. That's the most important thing."

The Lions will put their hot streak on the line at 4 p.m. Thursday when they play Immaculata at the University of St. Mary.

LANSING JV 2, MARANATHA 0

The Lansing High junior varsity soccer team played its toughest opponent thus far when it squared off against Maranatha Academy on Tuesday afternoon at Lansing Middle School, but the Lions were up to the challenge.

Maranatha was quick and aggressive, but so were the Lions (5-0). They went on the offensive early and struck about 15 minutes into the game when sophomore Mauritz Meyer connected with sophomore Ben Hancock for the first goal of the game. The 1-0 lead stood through halftime.

Sophomore Chance Thackston extended Lansing's lead to 2-0 when he stole a pass and then beat the Maranatha goalkeeper one-on-one.

Juniors Adam New and Jarred McLaurin combined for the shutout. The Lions have outscored their opponents 15-1 so far this season.

LHS next plays at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Immaculata at the University of St. Mary.

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