The varsity boys soccer team defeated Lake 3-2 this Thursday in what could be considered the best game of the year from any sport. The game - which was lead off by senior night festivities - was one that both the team and the fans will never forget. The teams traded leads on three separate occasions, and the intensity was at an all-time high for so many different reasons. Despite more than a few controversial calls from the officials and a multitude of shots on goal that barely missed, Marlington prevailed late in the second half and held off their opposition for the rest of the game.
The winning goal came from Reece Kackley, who hit a shot off of another that came from a corner kick. The goal was remarkable simply for the fact that it came right out of nowhere, as the cluster of both teams near the goal threw off most fans until they saw the team rush back to midfield in celebration. Kackley himself was especially animated, and this excitement certainly gave the team the boost they needed to defend their lead for the rest of the game.
When asked how it felt to be the deciding factor in the team’s win, Kackley had this to say: “It wasn’t just me. Our team worked the whole game to come back in the second half, and it felt great to get a win against such a great team.”
The game started off extremely promising for the Dukes with an early goal from Eric Beal. This lead was not held for long however, as Lake answered back with one of their own very quickly. Just about five minutes later, they scored again to put the Dukes down 2-1. This lead held until the second half, where the boys finally tied it up on an Antonio Vitale goal, and of course reclaimed the lead on the Kackley finish.
The game remained competitive throughout for plenty of reasons besides it being two talented teams facing off against each other. The officiating during the game was notably sketchy. Many calls that Marlington found blatantly obvious were not called on their side, and seldom yellow cards were given out at all on fouls.
Arguably the most controversial decision made by the refs came towards the middle of the second half. With the game tied 2-2, the Dukes fought hard in near the goal and seemed to just narrowly inch the ball into the goal. The goal was announced over the loudspeakers and the home crowd was going absolutely crazy. But after a short meeting with the coaches, the officials pulled the goal back because they believed the keeper and possession of the ball before it was dislodged from his hands and into the goal.
From the outset, it seemed as if this wasn’t the case, as the guys would’ve laid off of kicking the ball in the first place if they knew the keeper had the ball. Nevertheless, they still kept the confidence up and eventually prevailed.
On a night in which the seniors were honored for their multiple years of dedication to the team, the fact that such an amazing and dramatic win was pulled off by the team is a memory that will be in their heads for the rest of their lives. The excitement and celebration both during the game and after was completely genuine; something that you don’t see as often as one might think. The team hopes that they can have this kind of passion in the playoffs that are on the horizon. This game will serve as setting the precedent for what the rest of this year has to bring.