North Lamar varsity soccer began play in the first week of January as they shook off holiday rust to take the pitch. Heading into preseason play, Coach Aaron Welch knew he had challenges ahead with a team full of talent and heart, but overall yet a very young team that is still developing. Led by seniors Chayanne Peralta, Isaiah Lester, Christian Stockton and Alex Gaston, the Panthers have fought through the preseason with heart and determination. The Panthers opened up district play last Friday night against with a 3-0 home loss to Princeton (ranked 23 in 4A). The Panthers’ schedule does not get any easier as they travel to crosstown rival Paris (ranked 18 in 4A currently) on Valentine’s Day.
Coach Duanna Ewell had high expectations entering the season after a second-place finish in district last season. She knew there would be a challenge trying to replace 4-year goalie Shania Brown and others that graduated, but with seniors Karlie Ewell, Peyton Fleming, Olivia Reader and Karli Newberry, the Pantherettes were full of promise. Early struggles and key injuries have severely limited the Pantherettes through the preseason. Ewell was pleased with their performance in the Longview showcase as the ladies faced top teams in front of college scouts.
NL opened district play at Princeton (ranked 10 in 4A) with a disappointing 4-0 loss. The road does not get a lot easier as the Pantherettes host Paris (ranked 36) this Valentine’s Day. The JV girls will kick off at 5:30 with the varsity game to follow at 7:00 at R L Maddox Stadium.