Lakeside High School’s soccer teams were well-served by underclassmen in their season-opening wins Wednesday at Grovetown.
Freshman Phillip Tran scored his first varsity goal on his first shot, getting loose on a breakaway and blasting it into the net just 30 seconds into the game, helping lead the Panthers to the 7-2 triumph over the Warriors.
“It feels great. Two for two,” said Tran, who also scored on his second shot of the night for the Panthers’ sixth goal.
Grovetown didn’t let the quick goal faze them as they responded with goals from Corey Stone and Chris Evans for a 2-1 lead at the 27:22 mark of the first half.
“It’s the first game and I thought we were a little nervous and maybe not as prepared, and we played Grovetown’s style,” said Panthers head coach Dave Morgan of the first 20 minutes.
The game would change drastically for the Warriors almost 10 minutes later when Stone was red-carded out of the game. Less than a minute later, the Warriors were called for a penalty near their own goal and Colby Ellis banged home a penalty kick to the bottom right corner of the net to tie the score.
With 7:17 left in the half, the Panthers got another penalty kick, and this time Eric Older scored a penalty shot to the bottom left.
“We have to realize that one player doesn’t make the team,” said Warriors head coach Bill Madigan on losing Stone. “In my mind, I know what we’re capable of and we’ll have a good year.”
After Warriors goalie Damon Stinger stopped 11 shots in the first half, the Panthers came out and scored three goals in the first 10 minutes to put the game on ice.
Junior Robert Gvazgava added two goals for the Panthers and Sam Odi had one.
In girls action, Colby Canada scored 26 seconds into the game and the rout was on as the Lady Panthers beat the Warriors 10-0.
Freshman Devin Haygood got her varsity career off to a flying start as she tallied three goals and an assist.
“It feels pretty good,” Haywood said.
Also getting into the scoring column were Logan Williams, Sydney Umstead, Casandra Wade, Callie Beckham, Tessa Geyer and Nettie Jester.
Six of the 10 goals were scored by underclassmen, but talent will be on the field for the Lady Panthers no matter their classification.
“I don’t worry about what year they are,” said Lady Panthers head coach Nick Edmond. “The seniors have made them feel comfortable, and we’ve got a good group of seniors to help them along.”
Lady Warriors head coach Greg Young was still optimistic about his team.
“It takes time to get used to play with each other,” Young said. “We started like this last year and at the end of the year we were right in synch.”