Cavaliers lose season-opener

Published 11:00 pm Monday, March 14, 2011

Lakeland’s Austin Sorrells, right, and Eric Kennedy defend against Lafayette forward Rahim Costa-Dorsey Monday afternoon at Lakeland in the first soccer match of the season for Lakeland. Lafayette beat the Cavaliers 7-0.

Visiting Lafayette handed Lakeland’s boys soccer squad a 7-0 defeat in the first match of the Cavalier season Monday evening.

From the post-match huddle by the Lakeland bench, it was easy to see this match, even with an ugly final score, was a lot different than the struggling season a year ago for the Cavaliers.

For one, head coach Donald Moberly knows he has players, including a group of four senior leaders, who are willing to work hard. Second, the action on the field against Lafayette, while not showing up on the scoreboard, was full of good signs.

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“I’ve been having others tell me we look a lot more organized. This year we already are more aggressive and hustling a lot more,” he said.

The Williamsburg visitors controlled most of the possession and sent shots on goal right from the start, yet it still took just shy of 20 minutes for the Rams to take the lead.

Lakeland’s starting goalie, Jonathan Mosher, had to make three good saves in the first four minutes to keep it scoreless.

Oddly, after one of the first times the Cavaliers moved the action into Lafayette’s half of the field, the Rams struck back quickly for the first goal.

The Rams attacked with quick passing, earning a free kick a few yards outside the top of Lakeland’s penalty box. The Rams took the kick in a hurry and Robert Stevens drove a 21-yard strike just under the crossbar and into the goal.

Stevens went on to tally a hat trick in the next 16 minutes and Lafayette led 3-0 at halftime.

With Mike Estienne as the lone Cavalier forward, Evan Worley wide left and either LaRon Baker or Devin Keel wide right, the Cavaliers briefly put some attacking together in the second half. Pressing for some offense left more space for Lafayette and the Rams tacked on three more goals in the last 17 minutes.

“We’re still trying to find our rhythm. A lot of our team, about seven guys, are either new to varsity or to Suffolk,” Moberly said.

Most of the newcomers are up from junior varsity a season ago. Austin Sorrells, who played center midfield in the first half and goalie for most of the second half, moved to Suffolk from Florida.

“Our seniors, in particular, are really pushing hard. They work hard and they’re pushing the young guys. Last year was really rough but these guys have a lot of heart and I have to hand it to them,” he said.

The Cavaliers (0-1) have little time to regroup after their season opener. Lakeland hosts Bruton Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.