In an early-season battle of region soccer rivals, the Greenbrier High School Wolfpack got the upper hand, sweeping the Lakeside Panthers.
Tuesday night, the Lady Wolfpack set the tone with a 5-2 triumph in the first game while the boys went home 3-0 winners.
Both the Lady Wolfpack and Lady Panthers entered the game undefeated, but it was the Lady Wolfpack who remained perfect (2-0, 1-0 Region 2-AAAA) after breaking open a 1-1 game at halftime with three goals in the first 15 minutes.
“It’s always good when we beat Lakeside,” said Lady Wolfpack head coach Wes Kendrick. “It was our first competive match of the year, so we really saw what we had.”
Senior Bay Daniel, who missed the majority of the season after suffering a knee injury in Greenbrier’s first matchup with Lakeside a year ago, was the difference maker. She scored two goals just five minutes apart in the second half, finishing with two goals and two assists.
“It was nice to come back this year with a win and it feels nice to beat our rivals,” said Daniel.
The Lady Wolfpack missed a number of seemingly easy opportunities, which could have broken the game wide open in the first half, but were thwarted by some good saves from Lady Panthers freshman goalie Logan Williams.
Williams made nine saves before being replaced by Rachel Hardin with 26:48 to go in the game.
“There were some times she could have lost her composure, but she kept it at times and that’s good for a freshman,” said Lakeside head coach Nick Edmond.
Ultimately Daniel took over in the second half.
After a Lakeside turnover, Daniel drew the goalie out and placed the ball perfectly in the right corner of the net to take a 2-1 lead at 31:56. After an Emily Ludwig rebound of a Daniel shot for a 3-1 lead, Daniel got the ball from Ashton Bowles after another turnover and would not be denied, scoring her second goal of the night. She would record her second assist on Katie Belser’s goal with 10:17 to play.
“She’s a level above everybody on the field and it showed,” Lady Wolfpack head coach Wes Kendrick said of Daniel. “Hopefully, she can keep it up and stay healthy.”
Cassandra Wade notched both Lakeside (2-1, 0-1) goals, the first tying the game at 1 with 21:45 left in the first half. The second came with just over 23 minutes to play when she got a pass from Tessa Geyer and put it past the drawn-out goalie, cutting the team’s deficit to 4-2.
“We came out in the second half and just got outplayed,” said Edmond. “Tonight they were a better team than us.”
The boys game also appeared to have two well-matched squads with the Panthers sporting a 3-0-1 record while the Wolfpack entered at 1-0-1.
“For our first region game, it’s good to get off on the right foot,” said Wolfpack head coach Chip Warren, whose team improved to 2-0-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 2-AAAA.
Though early in the season, it was an important game for both teams.
“Anytime Lakeside and Greenbrier play it’s a big game,” said Panthers head coach Dave Morgan. “Even if it’s not a region game, it’s a big game.”
Warren and Morgan showed their passion in the first half with a fiery exchange at the midfield sideline after Greenbrier goalie Zack Maxwell and the Panthers' Chris Hall contacted each other.
“You’ve got to let them know you’ve got their back,” said Warren. “It looked like their guy was going after our keeper.”
Morgan called the incident a non-event after the game, but seconds afterward, Reed Norton blasted a shot from the right side into the left corner of the net for the Wolfpack’s ultimate game-winning goal at 16:25 of the first half.
It looked like the Panthers would go into the break down 1-0, but Norton fed James Toombs, who scored with 1:50 left in the half, sinking a dagger into the Panthers.
The pair connected again about five minutes into the second half when Norton fed Toombs in front of the net, and Toombs scored his second goal of the night for the 3-0 lead.
Not helping the Panthers (3-1-1, 0-1) was that they were shorthanded with two defenders out and freshman Phillip Tran on his way to England for a tryout with the West Ham United soccer club.
“We had some guys out and we had to change our formations a little bit,” Morgan said of his team’s inability to get much going on the offensive side of the ball.
Wolfpack goalie Maxwell had to record just three saves while Christopher Preheim had 13 for the Panthers.