On October 14th, the Boys’ Latin varsity soccer team took the field against a much more experienced and older St. Paul’s. Having succeeded in last year’s event, on St. Paul’s home turf, the young, determined, and skilled Lakers team took the field with a chance to yet again prove their dominance.
Despite starting the season with a grueling 0-8 record, the Lakers felt a strong sense of support from their fans. Michael Ubriaco said, “It’s always great to support my fellow classmates on the field.” The Lakers needed extra support not only for the rivalry game but for the seniors as it was their last home game.
Senior captain and two-year year veteran Tucker Booth said, “It was a crazy game, and I’m glad I got to play it with my close friends.”
The Lakers fell early to the Crusaders, as the score was 1-0 quickly in the first half with 20 minutes remaining. The harsh and unkind remarks from the St. Paul’s student section were morally draining. However, Ryan Evans was able to secure a goal to tie the score 1-1, answering St. Paul’s with 10 minutes left in the first half.
“It was unlike any feeling I’ve felt before,” Evans said after putting the Lakers within a goal’s chance of winning the game. Unfortunately for the Lakers, the defense fell short as the Crusaders again were able to come out stronger at the start of the second half.
With little time left in the game, the Lakers were beginning to feel uneasy. Jared Tankersly, starting defenseman for the Lakers, said, “We were getting lazy, and the back line was getting nervous.”
The game was beginning to slip out of the Lakers’ fingertips. The defense was being bombarded with offensive movement from the Crusaders’ 4-4-2 formation.
With little time left in the second half, the clock ticked down with two minutes left to go as the Lakers still needed a goal to tie the A-conference Crusaders. Josh Blibaum received a rebound and finished it off the right foot perfectly into the back of the net allowing the Lakers to enter overtime feeling confident and powerful. “I could not even feel my own body; it was crazy,” said Blibaum.
As the crowd roared, the Lakers looked up to their fans for the support that they had received last year in the 2-1 overtime victory over St. Paul’s. Booth said, “As we headed into overtime, my mind kept going back to last year’s game and how similar it was to this situation.” Surely the Lakers were hoping for the same outcome as the previous year as the ball fell into St. Paul’s possession at the first whistle.
Throughout overtime, the Lakers were able to control most of the possession, running their usual 5-3-2 formation, which had seemed to work recently in their previous 3-1 win over St. Mary’s. Unfortunately for the Crusaders, the Lakers were able to control the ball throughout the 20-minute overtime and topped the game off with a 2-2 draw.
The Crusaders exited the field with hanging heads as their season had already beaten them down to last place in the A conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers stood proudly as they added another accomplishment to their four-game win streak.
The seniors exited the field with their heads held high as they had ended their rivalry with St. Paul’s on a positive note.