By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
BEREA—North Laurel played even with Madison Southern for over 60 minutes. Lightning stopped the game with 18:13 to play and a 3-3 tie. When play resumed 40 minutes later, it was all Eagles in a 6-3 win
“Sadly, our chances were diminished by the lightning. I think we had them on their heels wondering how we were tied with them after 62 minutes of play. The break allowed them to regroup and attack when play resumed, while we struggled to match the intensity we started the game with,” North Laurel coach Mark Acampa said.
North Laurel had not trailed before the storm struck. Each of the three goals they scored had given them a lead. Each goal also seemed to grab the momentum for a moment.
“We went in knowing it was going to be a tough game. Our game plan was to try and apply pressure and deny them opportunities to take quality shots on goal. Their passing skills and speed on the outside eventually proved to be too much,” Acampa said.
The game first goal came with 24:55 in the half with a perfectly placed free kick from Keaton Kennedy 40-yards from the goal. Madison Southern’s Daylin Taylor tied the score at 18:04 with a running kick on a cross from Nick Wallace.
North Laurel regained the lead on a goal by Evan De la Pena. With North Laurel fans calling for a hand ball in the box, De la Pena beat a defender to a loose ball and flicked it into the net.
North Laurel would have to settle for a 2-2 tie at halftime. With 28.9 seconds, miscommunication on defense allowed Taylor to score on a header.
North Laurel would regain the lead with 32:43 to play on another free kick by Kennedy.
“I’ve said to others that with him on the field I don’t even feel like a soccer coach. I feel more like a jockey riding a winning race horse across the finish line. When he gets going, he is definitely fun to watch. To even have a chance of winning against a team like Madison Southern shows the importance of Kennedy to our team,” Acampa said.
With Nick Herrmann blocking shot after shot in the goal, it seemed like the one-goal lead might hold up.
“Nick is extremely important to our game for two reasons. One, he knows how to play the position well, and his athletic ability allows him to cover a lot of ground quickly. And two, our defense plays more aggressively and takes chances because they know he is back there,” Acampa said.
But with 20:45 to play, Tanner Kidwell flipped a pass to himself and got an angle Herrmann had no chance of stopping. The game was tied and two minutes later it would be stopped.
The go-ahead goal was scored within minutes of play resuming. About five minutes after that, a second goal was scored when Herrmann attempted to stop a shot, and while going for the deflection was kicked in the head by an opposing player. No foul was called and Herrmann was removed from the game as a safety precaution. One of the backup keepers, Tristan Woods, was thrust into action. However, Madison Southern wasn’t done scoring and with a few minutes left in the game, Woods had a rocket shot go by him for the 6-3 final.
“Despite the loss, I thought the boys played extremely well against a very talented and very well coached Madison Southern team,” Acampa said.
North Laurel (4-4-1) will try to get back on the winning track tonight against Oneida Baptist.