Adverse weather conditions took center stage Tuesday night when Greenbrier High School and Lakeside’s soccer teams squared off.
The subregion title was in the balance while the girls’ teams battled 25 mile-per-hour gusts of wind and temperatures in the low 40’s.Greenbrier scored twice in the second half with the wind at their backs, winning Region 2A-AAAAA with the 2-0 triumph.
The Greenbrier boys, who clinched the subregion crown a week ago, took a different tack, scoring both of their goals against the wind in the second half, holding off a late Panthers’ charge, winning 2-1.
“We have home field advantage through the region playoffs which is our first goal so we’re sitting good,” said Lady Wolfpack head coach Wes Kendrick, whose squad improved to 5-1, 5-0 region.
Having lost to the Lady Wolfpack 3-1 in the teams’ first meeting, the Lady Panthers (6-3, 3-2) needed to beat the Lady Wolfpack by more than two goals to put themselves in a position to win the subregion.
Greenbrier won the opening toss and chose to play into the wind in the first half. Right away the Lady Panthers’ Devin Haygood got behind the defense on a breakaway, but her shot with just a minute gone was stopped by a diving Madi McArthur.
“They definitely used the wind to their advantage in the second half and we didn’t use it as much in the first half,” said Lady Panthers’ head coach Nick Edmond.
With the weather, the first half played out much as Kendrick believed it might.
“I thought we played well in the first half considering the conditions,” he said. “That was the plan to go into halftime 0-0. I knew it was going to be a struggle and we had a few good chances, we just couldn’t put them away.”
Natalie Thompson made sure she put away her chance to score the game-winning goal in the second half. After Kelly Azbell forced a turnover deep in the Lady Panthers end and centered a pass that cleared a defender by a foot, Thompson left no doubt, blasting a shot into the upper right corner of the net with 28:30 to play.
Earning home field in the region playoffs and beating their rivals in the process made the night bearable for Thompson.
“I couldn’t be any happier,” said Thompson. “It was miserable but it was worth it.”
The Lady Wolfpack put the game away for good with 7:48 left when CiCi Capps got the ball into the goal through a crowd in front off a Riley Tetreault corner kick.
After seeing three perfect crosses either defended at the last second or just missed by his teammates in the first half, Bryan Thompson got his assist with just over 31 minutes left in the game. Thompson centered the ball from right to left and Myles Duncan leapt to one-time it into the net breaking a scoreless tie.
Thompson would then get the Wolfpack a 2-0 advantage at 18:10, driving the ball to the goal, beating two defenders before finding the back of the net.
The win kept the Wolfpack perfect in the subregion at 5-0, improving to 6-1 overall. The Panthers dropped to 4-4-1, 2-3 region.
Eric Older got the Panthers on the board with 14:08 to play. Like Thompson he beat two defenders and stuck the ball into the short side of the net, but the Panthers could not find an equalizer.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year and we’ve not given up on any of them,” said Panthers’ head coach Dave Morgan. “It’s a good group of boys and I’m real proud of the way that they played and showed themselves.”
Goals: Greenbrier-Natalie Thompson, CiCi Capps. Assist: Greenbrier-Kelly Azbell. Riley Tetreault. Goalkeepers: Lakeside-Rachel Hardin (5); Greenbrier-Madi McArthur (3).
Records: Lakeside 6-3, 3-2 Region 2A-AAAAA; Greenbrier 5-1-1, 5-0. Next: Lakeside at Harlem, 5:30 p.m., Monday; Greenbrier at Aquinas, 5:30 p.m., Friday.
Goals: Lakeside: Eric Older; Greenbrier-Myles Duncan, Bryan Thompson. Assist: Greenbrier-Thompson. Goalkeepers: Lakeside-Christoper Preheim (8); Greenbrier-Connor Washer (5).
Records: Lakeside 4-4-1, 2-3 Region 2A-AAAAA; Greenbrier 6-1, 5-0. Next: Lakeside at Harlem, 7 p.m., Monday; Greenbrier at Aquinas, 7 p.m., Friday.