North Lamar’s varsity squad (8-3-3) took the field to face the Melissa Cardinals (5-7-2) on Friday the 13th. North Lamar was confident, coming in with a six-game win streak; however, the Cardinals were quick to show that they were not going to be number seven without a fight.
Just under four minutes into the match, Melissa scored a goal jumping to a quick 1-0 lead. This appeared to be a wake-up call call for the Panthers as they pulled together, moving the ball very effectively. At the 21 minute mark, Hunter Love (2) placed the ball in the goal with an assist from Andrew Exum (10) to tie the match 1-1.
The next 56 minutes of the match looked like a winter version of Friday Night Lights as both teams played aggressively. There were multiple fouls with plenty of action only broken up by halftime. Each team pushed hard to get the advantage, but as the clock counted down to under five minutes in the second half this match had the appearance of ending in a tie.
North Lamar continued to press and, with just under three minutes left in the match, the Panthers were able to steal possession of a Cardinal inbounds pass. With 2:36 left on the clock, Korbin Peralta(18) pushed past defenders in the box and received a cross (assist) from Zach Routon (12) to score the go-ahead goal making it 2-1. North Lamar controlled the final minutes and walked off the field with a hard fought victory.
Nick West (1) finished the night with seven saves, holding the Cardinals to just one goal. When asked, Coach Welch summed up the night by saying, “There will always be obstacles in your way each game whether it’s injuries, poor weather or the occasional bad call from officials. The difference in winning teams is the ability to overcome those obstacles week in and week out to find some way to win the match. That’s what we did tonight.”
The Panthers will carry their 7-game win streak into #3 Princeton next Friday to begin district play.