After opening the season with two wins, Coach Aaron Welch knew that his team would be tested with the competition at this weekend’s Kings Classic Tournament at Paris High. However, he probably didn’t imagine the adversity his team would face before ever taking the field. Thursday afternoon Welch was notified that senior starting goalie and team captain, Nick West, was in the hospital about to undergo emergency surgery.
The Panthers would lose their opening match of the tournament to Pittsburg 3-0. Friday’s matchup against Pleasant Grove would bring more adversity. Playing to a 1-1 tie in the first half that would hold up to be the final score, NL would lose starting senior defender, Ryan Cody (19) to a knee injury for the rest of the tournament.
The Panther squads final matchup on Saturday would be against Terrell, one of the stronger teams in the tournament. Playing in rain that would turn to a snowy mix by the end of play, NL would lose the match 4-1. Rino Moore (2) provided the lone goal of the match.
In spite of the tournament results, Welch was pleased with the progress and play of his team. He commented that they overcame adversity and played well even when they were down. Welch expects Cody to be able to play next week and West should return in time for district play. The Panthers next matchup will be Tuesday at RL Maddox stadium against Community.