By Gene Helfman
Special to the Weekly
While every coach would like to see games end in victory, equally important is a sense that his or her team has improved as a season progresses. Soccer coach Miles Becker can feel more than satisfied in his team’s improvement during 2015. The Lobos’ overall record was five wins and ten losses, but the way the kids played against strong opposition, and especially their improvement, was nothing short of great. Coach Becker said the team, “made a remarkable transformation half way through the season when they started playing together. They held possession longer and created more scoring opportunities than their opponent in almost every game. Everyone on the field made a valuable contribution and fans on the sidelines can testify to the exciting and proficient style of soccer demonstrated by the team.”
The home match against Cedar Park Christian on Oct. 23 is a good example. The final outcome was a 3 to 2 loss, but two of Cedar Park’s goals were on set pieces, one a penalty kick and the other an impressive direct kick over the Lobos’ defending wall and into a corner of the net after a Lopez foul. This means Cedar Park scored only once in regular play. The Lobos scored on a penalty kick by exchange student Angel Lopez in the first half, and then again at the end of game as a cluster of Lobos players managed to get inside the Lions’ goal box, a Cedar player deflecting the ball for an “own goal”. Lopez outshot their opponent and cleared the ball regularly before any Lions players could challenge Lopez goalie Gavin Goodrich. Much of both halves was played on the Lions’ end of the field. The Cedar Park goalie had to make several athletic saves, and several Lopez scoring attempts hit the bar or slid just past a post.
Lopez’ relatively young co-ed team posted victories against La Conner, Cedar Park, Shoreline, and Grace Academy this year. With only one senior, Dawson Hall, coach Becker relied heavily on his younger players. Three exchange students contributed greatly both in their play and in sharing their knowledge of a game so popular outside the U. S. Angel Lopez from Spain, Jorge Solis from Mexico, and Antonia Bock from Germany will be sorely missed, but a young team this year means plenty of experience as Lopez looks forward to the 2016 soccer season.