Lions hold off Berthoud on the pitch
By Mack Beaulieu
Reporter-Herald Sports Writer
Healthy team. Healthy lead.
Loveland Classical School’s fresh lineup pounced on Berthoud early Tuesday night at Mehaffey Park, as two early goals proved to be the difference makers in a 4-2 win for the Lions.
It only took a couple of minutes before LCS’ Andrew McIntyre and Dylan Johnson produced goals before going on the defensive for most of the night. The Spartans made adjustments on both ends, but just couldn’t get to the lead despite a strong effort.
“We had a strategy to play wide early and work toward the middle,” LCS coach Dan Weisner said. “McIntyre pointed out how it was pulling their center backs out and leaving the middle exposed, so that was real effective for a couple of the goals.”
Berthoud freshman goalie Kellan Marks made a great save on a free kick just a few minutes after Johnson had scored the second Lions’ goal on a penalty kick. An aggressive midfield helped keep the LCS attack on strong through the first 15 minutes of the game, with Jonny Weisner helping direct the ball to the middle of the field and on to his forwards.
“He’s good at taking a few touches into space and then picking up his head and finding guys,” Coach Weisner said. “Those midfield guys really control the game, keep possession of the ball and make effective distributions.”
After that, much of the first half offensive attack came from Berthoud as it repeatedly got shots on goal, but were stifled by some great saves courtesy of the Lion’s senior goalie, Wyatt Swanson. After an ACL tear ended his junior season, Swanson was eager to get back on the field and get his first win as a senior.
“I just do the best I can for (the team),” Swanson said. “Being out for over a year with my injury was absolutely terrible, because soccer is my greatest love. So getting back out here just feels great, and I’m gonna give it everything I got.”
Swanson was very effective in what turned out to be an aggressive Spartans offense late in the first half and throughout the second. There were a few scary moments for the Lions though, as two shots glanced off the top bar and when the goalie came off his line, charging for the ball about 20 yards in front of his goal.
Like every Spartans opportunity in the first, however, the Lions were able to snuff it out.
“We were really rushing it, we had some good shots,” BHS coach Zac Traver said. “I don’t think they stopped us too much. We had some really good movements. There’s a lot of players who haven’t played together, so that connection isn’t quite there.”
The Lions added one more goal just minutes before the half on a McIntyre breakout up the middle with no one in front of him. McIntyre went left with the kick and Marks guessed right, making the score 3-0.
With a team that already lists three less players on the roster, the Spartans depth and health issues proved to be huge on the night as they seemed to control both sides of the field for most of the game.
“We had a couple of sick players, and injured,” said Travers. “I think they just weren’t a hundred percent and they didn’t know til they got started.”
The Lions came out with a quick goal by Johnson to start the second half and make it 4-0. It looked like things might get out of hand, but the Spartans fought hard until the end, and senior forward Conrad Ellis had two late goals and a third that was waved off due to a pushing penalty.