VALDESE â€” The West Lincoln Lady Rebels soccer team got a win in its first game of the season two weeks ago, on Feb. 29, beating East Rutherford 4-0.
While other local teams have as many as five games under their belts, the Lady Rebels didnâ€™t resume action for their second regular-season game until Monday, when they fell to the Draughn Lady Wilcats 3-1.
â€œWe were more sporadic than we were in the first game,â€ West Lincoln head coach Tom Riley said. â€œIt could have been that the week and a half between games took us out of competition mode, but still, I feel like we could have possessed the ball better and kept our formation to move the ball around.â€
Draughnâ€™s Toni Taylor put the Lady Wildcats on the board in the first half. With nine minutes left in the game, Ashley Parker added another goal for Draughn.
The Lady Rebels avoided a shutout less than a minute later. Center midfielder Katie Childers received a pass from across the pitch and cut back across the goal, firing off a quick shot that crossed the line to cut Draughnâ€™s lead to 2-1.
Childers made a similar attempt moments earlier in the game, but was thwarted by Draughn goalkeeper Liz Lingerfeldt.
â€œI like for (Childers) to control the middle to spread the ball to the outside and get it up top to the strikers,â€ Riley said. â€œThen, if she has a shot from the center position, she should take it. Sheâ€™s kind of a point guard for the team. She tries to get the ball moving, but if she has the shot she takes it.â€
Childers took three corner kicks for the Lady Rebels as the first half expired, but the Draughn defense cleared the ball away twice and West Lincoln was called for a penalty once to end the offensive threat.
West Lincoln goalkeeper Meredith Byers was kept busy during the game, and was praised by Riley for coming up with several crucial saves. Draughnâ€™s Jessica Browning managed the Lady Wildcatâ€™s third goal with 2:36 left in the match with a long, loping shot from over 20 yards outside the West Lincoln goal.
West Lincolnâ€™s Maribel Chavez, Lexi Flowers and Taylor Sutton all made runs on the Draughn goal in the second half, but were constantly denied by the Lady Wildcat defense.
The Lady Rebels have a difficult task ahead of them as they open Southern Piedmont Conference play against the 4-1 Lake Norman Charter Lady Knights today at home at 5 p.m. Lake Norman Charter defeated Highland Tech 6-0 on Mar. 8 to open its conference season.
â€œTheyâ€™ll be a very good possession team,â€ Riley said. â€œThereâ€™s no urgency in them; theyâ€™ll set it up, and if it doesnâ€™t look good, theyâ€™ll drop back. They move the ball around very well and I think theyâ€™ll make runs down the lines. If we leave the middle open too much theyâ€™ll attack it and force us to come up and play them. We have to make sure that we try to keep the ball as much as we can on our feet.â€