By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
In a battle of evenly matched teams, the end result was fitting as Southwestern and North Laurel battled to a 1-1 draw.
“It was a great fight tonight,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said. “Very physical.”
“I thought both teams played really hard,” Southwestern coach Sean McBride said. “It was a physical match.”
It would be North Laurel (2-1-1) scoring first, in the 8th minute when a Hunter Riley cornerkick found the head of Keaton Kennedy, who directed it past the keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Both teams battled back and forth in the first half with numerous chances to score. In the 14th minute North keeper Nick Herrmann made a nice save on a shot by Hunter Flynn. Two minutes later, Pedro Herrera’s shot banged off the cross bar. Three minutes after that, Herrera’s shot was stopped by Herrmann, who lost control of the ball but was able to stop another shot from going in.
The Warriors (2-2) finally beat Herrmann in the 21st minute when Herrera was able to gather in a loose ball and score, knotting things at 1-1. The Warriors controlled most of the action after the North Laurel goal.
“I really felt like in the first half we had a lot of goal scoring opportunities,” McBride said. “We moved the ball well and really should have put more in the back of the net than we did. We had one goal called back due to an offsides player. We really need to eliminate silly mistakes like that.”
Both teams had chances in the second half, but neither could finish, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
“I saw we were evenly matched on paper,” Acampa said. “And on the scoreboard as well.”
McBride said he felt like his team got out of their game a little in the second half.
“We were rushing forward at the end, trying to take on an entire defense with 2-3 players. It was fairly chaotic,” McBride said.
Acampa credited his defense with keeping the Warriors off the board in the second half.
“Our defense played great,” Acampa said. “We were really aggressive.”
The play of Elijah Whitenack stood out in Acampa’s mind.
“I usually use Elijah at midfield, but with Will (Napier) hurt I had to use him on defense,” Acampa said. “He is really fast and aggressive and he delivered for us big time.”
He also noted the play of Duncan Patton and Aussie Walter.
“They both gave us great minutes,” Acampa said. “The team really supported each other tonight.”
The Jaguars are scheduled to be on the road for their next two matches, at Perry County Central Tuesday, then at Whitley County Thursday.