Gallery by Heather Belcher
Beckley – All in all, Greenbrier East soccer coach Lucas Lemine had to be pleased with Thursday’s result in Beckley.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, his Spartans rallied to tie Beckley 3-3 at the Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex.
Throughout the first half it appeared as though the Flying Eagles still had their rival’s number after upsetting them in last year’s sectional, but a second-half surge that produced three goals in limited opportunities allowed the visitors to escape with a 7-0-1 record.
“I didn’t raise my voice one time,” Lemine said of his halftime speech. “I just told them that if there wasn’t anybody that didn’t believe that we weren’t going to win this second half then don’t come out. The boys said this exact same thing when we got out here. We just went over some simple instructions and reinforced what we said before the game, which we did not do. I think we didn’t play well and Woodrow played ridiculously well. I’m not sure how we got away with that result but we did.
The Flying Eagles built their early lead by staying on the attack early and often. Junior Jack Grimmett scored both of the Flying Eagles’ goals in the first half in the 11th and 25th minutes to stake his team to a commanding lead.
“He got himself in the right place at the right time,” Beckley coach Steve Laraba said. “We’ve worked on those types of scenarios where we’ve got people getting to the goal line and cutting back. The first goal was something we’ve worked on quite a bit and the second one was not quite as well orchestrated but still he read the flight of the ball and had himself in the right place at the right time.”
Lemine’s halftime speech had some resonation within his team as they immediately cut the score in half in the 44th minute as Chase Mizia scored.
The celebration was short-lived.
The Flying Eagles continued their barrage as Carson Eckley found the net from the box just 71 seconds later on an assist from Hayden Johnson.
“I thought it was a great response,” Laraba said. “They scored in the first five, six minutes of the half and it’s what they needed. I’m sure it’s what they talked about at halftime and now they’re on this big high. We come back and we answer immediately and you can see the wind drop out of their sails a little bit. But full credit to them because they got themselves resituated.”
A goal in the 57th minute courtesy of Matthew Cook made it a one-score game again and junior Adam Seams knotted the contest in the 62nd minute with a goal from just outside the box.
The Flying Eagles had an opportunity to win the game twice in the final two minutes but a save by East’s keeper with bodies in the box foiled the first attempt and an offsides call on a goal just before the final horn sounded finalized the tie.
“They were a different team than we expected,” Lemine said. “There’s two kids that played tonight that did not play on varsity last year for Woodrow and they were two outside backs. They were two of the better players on the field. We’ve not seen people have the pace to stay with Chase Mizia and Steve Martinez and they were not only with them, but I think they had a step on them. Jackson (Quattrone) may have played a little bit of varsity last year, I’m not sure if he was a starter but he played really well in the midfield. We knew Hayden (Johnson) and Carson (Eckley) and we knew Evan (Laraba) but that was kind of the focal point of what we thought we would see and we did a very poor job in the first half.
“But they did and excellent job in the first half and they took advantage of our mistakes. They were great. I knew that they would be athletic and I knew the importance of this game – again it’s a rivalry game. We don’t like each other when we play, but you saw we’re all friends when we get off of here. I can’t give enough credit to what they did. They really took us out of out game and that’s not happened in like two years.”
During the game, the Spartans set aside the No. 12 jersey in honor of Dwayne Richardson, a Beckley student who was shot and killed in May. After the game Laraba and Lemine approached the crowd together with the East jersey as well as the Beckley No. 12 jersey in a sign of unity.
Contact Tyler Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, call/text him at 304-731-5542 and follow on Twitter @tjack94
Greenbrier East with a neat gesture, putting a jersey out for Dwayne Richardson pic.twitter.com/PcOZfXwZGl
— Tyler Jackson (@TJack94) September 17, 2021