Hosts rely on second-half breakthrough
After Lincoln and North Knox played to a first-half stalemate on Wednesday, both coaches knew whoever recorded the opening score of the second half would be in control.
It was the Alices who notched goals in the seventh and 11th minutes, and they held off a pesky Warriors club for a 2-1 boys soccer win at the Lincoln pitch.
Damien Henderson had the first goal with an assist from Nathan Boger at the 33:06 mark in the second half. Jason Ramirez assisted Dagen Parido's goal with 29:53 showing to put Lincoln (2-6) ahead, 2-0. The Warriors (1-4) got their score when Conner Hartzburg headed in a cross from Cole Jones with 26:35 remaining.
“It was a hard-fought battle. North Knox didn't go away,” Lincoln coach Aaron Lange said. “We thought if we got a goal early in the second half, which we were able to do, we thought they'd go away. We put in a second one, and they still didn't go away. They kept coming and coming.
"Our team today was more positive than we've been all year. We've struggled to be a team. We've had a lot of in-fighting. Today we didn't see near as much of that, and that's a step in the right direction.”
Lincoln narrowly controlled possession in the first half, about 60-40, but both teams had several chances. The Alices had a 3-1 corner kick advantage in the opening period, while Ramirez, Parido and Boger each put multiple shots on goal. North Knox keeper Gage French had seven of his 11 saves in the opening period. The Warriors also received shots on goal by Hartzburg and R.J. Kaetzel.
With the score knotted, 0-0, early in the second half, Boger broke free down the right sideline. His cross appeared to be just behind Parido in the middle of the box, but the pass found its intended target as Henderson was attacking from the left, and his shot nestled nicely between the left post and a lunging French to put Lincoln ahead 1-0.
Just over three minutes later, Ramirez's through pass split the Warriors' defense, and Parido, with a step on his defender, pushed one by French for a 2-0 Alices lead.
Lincoln keeper Jonathan Soderling turned away a free kick on the ensuing possession. Two minutes later, allowing a throw-in by Jones on the sideline, he received the pass back, and his cross was perfectly placed in the box for Hartzburg to head it by Soderling.
“It was an even battle between two teams that are about the same,” North Knox coach Robert Cullen said. “They got one early (in the second half), and I think that was the difference. My kids played hard, and we kind of knew whoever got that first goal was going to have a big advantage, and Vincennes got it.”
North Knox's best chance to tie it late came in the 77th minute on a corner. Jones' cross fell to the far post for Kaetzel, but the freshmen didn't get enough power behind it, and Soderling made a diving snag to prevent it from trickling into the goal.
Soderling finished with 10 saves.
“(Soderling) stayed in the game, and that's hard to do. In the first half, they were attacking him hard, and when they attacked, our defense did well,” Lange said. “That can be hard for a keeper to keep his head in the game, but he did. He probably made one or two mistakes, but other than that, he was where he needed to be.
“The last few games Layne Anderson has brought a lot of energy for us. He's a spitfire out there. He didn't get a goal or an assist, but he brought his energy, and he was definitely a big part of every play.”
Lincoln hosts Evansville Bosse at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, while North Knox entertains Rivet at 5 p.m. next Tuesday.