The Southwest Onslow High School boys’ soccer team survived a second-half comeback attempt from Lejeune High School to escape from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune with its first win of the season, Sept. 23.
Southwest, who improved to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the Coastal 8 Conference (1A/2A), scored in the 2nd minute when Justin Harness penetrated the Lejeune defense and found Josh Novak, who got a shot past LHS goalkeeper Gabriel Ostroha to take a 1-0 lead early on. In the 21st minute, Harness scored on a lengthy free kick to go up 2-0 on what was Southwest’s final goal of the night.
Lejeune came surging back when Peter Sullivan scored his seventh goal of the season just five minutes into the second half, cutting the deficit to one with 35 minutes to play. Despite great goalkeeping from Ostroha, and good scoring chances down the stretch from Marcus Cooper, Karl Benson and Robbie Morgan, the Devil Pups ran out of time, losing their fourth-straight match to remain winless in conference.
Charles Teegarden, Lejeune’s head coach, thought the Devil Pups (2-6) did well with their new formation change while having personnel play different positions than they had in past matches.
“I really think for the most part we dominated as far as movement, position and defense,” Teegarden said. “We didn’t capitalize on a few opportunities; we didn’t finish. Had we finished, it would have been a different game.”
Derick Jenkins, Southwest’s head coach, said that both teams had missed opportunities.
“They kept some pretty good pressure on us,” Jenkins said. “It was tit for tat pretty much. They got some good looks; we got some good looks. I thought they had some really good looks that they would have (wanted to) capitalize on and same for us.”
Though Lejeune couldn’t complete the comeback, LHS senior Ray Feliciano thought that his team showed a lot of grit.
“We have played better, but this was definitely one of our best games, even with the loss, effort wise, fighting all the way through and not giving up throughout the whole game,” Feliciano said.
One highlight for Lejeune in the loss was the performance of Ostroha, who played his first-ever match at goalkeeper, making some big second-half saves to keep the Devil Pups in the match. Zacharia Johnson, Lejeune’s first-string keeper, is expected to be out a couple more weeks with a high-ankle sprain.
The Devil Pups host Richlands on Wednesday before back-to-back road games at North Duplin on Thursday and at Trask on Sept. 30.
SWO 2 0 - 2
LHS 0 1 - 1
SWO: Josh Novak, assist Justin Harness (2’, 1-0)
SWO: Harness free kick (21’, 2-0)
LHS: Peter Sullivan (45’, 1-2)