‘We will surprise you’

Published 10:04 pm Friday, April 11, 2014

Lakeland High School senior midfielder Nolan Knights, center, advances the ball against visiting Deep Creek High School on Thursday. The Cavaliers won 5-2.

Lakeland High School senior midfielder Nolan Knights, center, advances the ball against visiting Deep Creek High School on Thursday. The Cavaliers won 5-2. (Melissa Glover photo)

LHS boys notch first soccer win

The visiting Deep Creek High School Hornets stung Lakeland High School’s boys’ soccer team early on Thursday night, but the Cavaliers never let up. After 80 minutes of play, Lakeland had earned its first win of the season, topping Deep Creek 5-2.

Cavaliers head coach Nizar Arfaoui noted his young, inexperienced team has been losing a lot, starting this season 0-8. But he also noted one thing that remains constant about it, from the first minute of a game to the last, even when behind by a score like 8-0.

“There is no giving up,” he said.

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So, in Thursday’s contest, an early 1-0 deficit was not much of an obstacle to Lakeland.

Arfaoui suspected that after Deep Creek took the lead, it let up a bit. When this happens against his team, he said, “We will surprise you. This is how it is.”

The Cavaliers still need a lot of work to improve their performance, he said, but later added that part of what gave them the edge on Thursday was their persistence in one-on-one situations.

“They did not let the opponent play comfortable,” Arfaoui said. “They applied pressure on the ball.”

The Hornets scored about 18 minutes into the game, he said. Then, Lakeland’s lone senior, Nolan Knights, went to work.

Arfaoui said he scored about seven minutes later to tie things up. About a minute before halftime, Knights scored again, giving his team a lead it would never give up.

After the coach delivered some corrective instructions at halftime, he said his players followed through, and the result was more goals.

It was cross country standout junior Jacob Crowell’s turn to lead the way, as Arfaoui said he scored less than 10 minutes into the second half to make it 3-1. About five minutes later, Deep Creek responded to pull within one, but less than 10 more minutes after that, Crowell put another one in.

Cavaliers sophomore Jordan Hollins scored the final goal of the game with nine minutes remaining, Arfaoui said.

The coach gave credit to his team’s opponent.

“I’m very impressed, honestly, with the Deep Creek team this year,” Arfaoui said. “It’s way better than last year.”

He recognized the effort of his whole team in defeating the Hornets, but also took a moment to highlight those who led the way, including junior Jeremy Hill and freshman Adam Worley.

“Both of them did a tremendous job on defense,” Arfaoui said.

Also standing out were his midfielders, who were the goal scorers — Knights, Crowell and Hollins.

Following spring break, Lakeland (1-8, 0-2) is scheduled to return to action on April 22 at Grassfield High School.