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Western loses a heartbreaker to Southern Lee 2-1 in OT (Round 2 Playoffs)

November 6, 2012
Western Alamance High School

Story courtesy of Keith Thomas

On Saturday afternoon, the Western Alamance Warriors soccer team traveled to Sanford to take on the Southern Lee Cavaliers in the 2nd round of the State playoffs.  The boys played an awesome game against a very tough Southern Lee squad; however, with a minute left to play in the 2nd overtime the boys failed to clear the ball out from their goal area and from the offensive pressure caused by the Cavaliers forced an own goal ending Western’s dream of advancing to the 3rd round.  The heartbreaking 2 to 1 loss stopped the Warriors season at 16-2-3.

In order to slow down the attack of Southern Lee, the Warriors started the game very defensively keying on two Cavalier mid-fielders during the process.  In the 1st half the game plan worked as Western did an outstanding job shutting down Southern Lee’s offensive by allowing only 3 shots at goal.  Once Western obtained possession during the half, the boys would launch an aggressive march toward Southern Lee’s defense; however, the Warriors only mustered 3 shots at goal as well.  The best opportunity for Western to score in the 1st half came when senior Jacob Thompson beat a defender to the ball around the 18-yard line.  As Thompson kicked the ball the Cavalier defender slid under the kick causing the ball to pop up.  At the same time, Southern Lee’s goalie raced out to retrieve the ball; however, the ball went over his head aiming toward goal.  At the last second, the Cavalier goalie was able to run back and catch the shot right before the ball crossed the entire line.   At this point the half ended 0-0. 

In the second half, the pace of the game picked up rapidly as both teams moved the ball up and down the field with several opportunities to score.   In the 57th minute with the game still knotted at 0-0, the Warriors had their first good look at a goal but failed to convert after Thompson crossed the ball from the left side of the field over to senior teammate Jackson Lilly.  Thompson maneuver the ball by two defenders deep in the Cavalier corner of the field and chipped the ball over the goalie as he came out to challenge Thompson.  The ball landed six yards in front of the goal where Lilly patiently maintained control of the pass and rifled a shot at the net.   Two Southern Lee defenders were protecting the goal since their goalie was out of position to make a save.   Lilly’s shot appeared to hit one of the defenders in the hand which would have allowed a penalty kick for Western; however, the center referee did not make the call and another Cavalier defender cleared the ball out from danger.  Four minutes later, the pair would redeem themselves as Thompson received a pass deep in Southern Lee’s corner again and made another beautiful cross over to Lilly in front of the Cavalier box.  Lilly didn’t disappoint the team or the Western fans this time as he found the back of the net with 19 minutes left in the game.

Less than 10 minutes after the Warriors goal, Southern Lee even the score on a quick kick from mid-field after a foul was called and yellow card assessed to a Western player.  Basically before the Warriors could sub in a new player due to the yellow card, the Cavaliers had already passed the ball downfield where it was passed over to a player at the top of the box who scored the tying goal.   Both teams battled hard the final 10 minutes but there were no clear chances for a score so regulation ended at 1 – 1.

In the first overtime period, neither team found pay dirt with a goal as both Western and Southern Lee seemed to be playing conservatively.  In the 2nd overtime period, Southern Lee picked up the pace and with a couple minutes to go in the final overtime worked the ball into Western’s side of the field with several shots at goal.  After a blocked shot by a Western defender, the ball popped out to the left side of the field where a Cavalier player crossed it back deep into the Warriors goal area.  From the pressure of Southern Lee’s offense, the ball was accidentally headed into Western’s goal to put the Cavaliers up 2-1.  With less than a minute to play, the Warriors were unable to mount an attack for an equalizing goal. 

Coach John Pardini and the Warriors had a fantastic season this year winning 16 games against 2 losses and 3 ties.   Consider the team is relatively young, starting 4 sophomores, 3 juniors and 4 seniors, the future looks bright for the Western soccer program.  A big thanks go out to seniors Adam Richard, Cody Schultz, Jackson Lilly, Jacob Thompson, Pieter Van Zyl and Aaron Martin for their leadership, direction and determination in guiding this team to a very successful season.  Although it is still 6 or 7 months away, good luck to you guys after graduation.  Go Warriors !!!!





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