North Lamar’s Aaron Welch, head coach of boy’s soccer, entered his 4th season at the helm of the varsity squad having never beaten Crosstown rival Paris in district play. The talent-laden Panther squad struggled through preseason play as they worked to gel as a team and find their identity. Coming into district play, Coach Welch liked the way his team was coming together.
After a tough 0-3 loss to Princeton to open district play, NL hosted Paris. In a game filled with playoff intensity, defense was the dominant theme of the night. Panther goalie, Nick Kear, was phenomenal in goal, killing two Wildcat penalty shots and holding Paris scoreless with the help of his outstanding defensive line. As the game looked like it was heading to a shootout, Matthew Meredith beat the Paris goalie with a penalty shot as the clock approached 11 minutes to play in the match. The Panther defense stifled Wildcat offensive attempts through the final minutes to give NL a 1-0 victory over their crosstown rival.
The Panthers faced district-leader Community next. Matthew Meredith scored in the 1st half and NL went into the half knotted at 1-1. Community’s offense, however, proved to be too much as they scored three 2nd half goals to defeat the Panthers 4-1.
NL closed the first half of district play traveling to face Bonham. The Panthers led 1-0 until Bonham tied up the game with 25 minutes remaining. Moving to a shootout, the game was still tied at the end of the first round as both teams scored four goals. NL fell in the sudden death shootout, losing the game 1-2(6-7).
At 1-3, NL stands in 5th place in district behind Community, 3-1, and Paris, Princeton and Bonham all with 2-2 records. The Panthers host Princeton this Friday to open the 2nd half of district play. There is a strong sense of urgency as NL has to make up some ground in order to qualify for the playoffs. After traveling for most of the 1st half of district, NL plays 3 of 4 games this round at home with the only road game left in the schedule being Paris.
Come out and support your Panther soccer and be a part of this exciting squad’s action as they work to compete for a playoff spot.