By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
When North Laurel played at Monticello earlier this season the Jaguars rolled to a 10-1 win. But that was a different North Laurel team. Thursday they needed a late goal from Hunter Riley to survive 4-3.
“We did what we had to do to win and Hunter Riley came up big with three goals,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said.
It was a different North Laurel team because most of the varsity players saw limited or no action Thursday. The usual starters were rested because after the Monticello game the Jaguars loaded onto a bus for a game at South Laurel. Keaton Kennedy had to sit out the game after receiving two yellow cards in the previous game
“We mixed it up. We even played some people out of position and really gave the JV kids more time to play,” Acampa said.
If the Jaguars had not played Monticello first, Kennedy would have been forced to sit out the South Laurel game. Acampa said despite the easy win in Monticello, he knew the lineup changes would make it a more competitive game.
“I saw how that game went and I thought with the JV kids in there that it might be pretty close,” Acampa said.
North Laurel did control possession early and jumped ahead 2-0 midway through the first half. First it was Levi Seidel finding a seam in front of the goal about seven minutes into the game. Riley then found a gap for his first goal to begin his hat trick.
With 12:53 in the half, Monticello trimmed the lead with a goal by Juan Castro. Castro’s goal came after the Trojans held the ball for a long possession. They would miss at least one close shot that could have tied the game before halftime.
Early in the second half Riley struck again. The Trojans’ defense seemed to have Riley covered, but he took the ball away and found the back of the net. The Monticello coach told his defense they gave him the ball.
Osvaldo Garcia scored for the Trojans to cut the lead back to one.
Garcia scored again with 18:52 to play to tie the score. The North Laurel keeper jumped and got his hands on the ball, but it landed in front of the goal and the official ruled it did cross the line before being snatched away.
Both teams had chances to take the lead, but it didn’t happen until 2:30 remained. Josh Carter took the ball at midfield and passed ahead to Riley for the breakaway goal and the win. It was the fourth straight win for the Jaguars.