With a 4-2 loss to Jordan High on Nov. 4, the 2011 Leesville Road varsity men’s soccer season came to an unfortunate end. The Pride, under Paul Dinkenor, fell to the number two seeded Jordan in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-A State Playoffs, but still finished the season with an impressive 16-5-2 record.
After a dominating 8-0 win over Richmond Senior High in the first round, the Pride were prepared for a true test against the 17-4 Falcons. Going into the game, Monjue Campbell, senior, was confident in Leesville’s ability as well as their work ethic.
“We had performed well earlier in the week, and we always work as hard as we can at practice. As a team, we thought we had a good chance to pull together and come out with a win,” said Campbell.
However, when game time came on Friday night, Leesville found themselves in a tough situation. Slick grass and mud patches, a result of the day’s continuous rain, engulfed the field, making it difficult for the Pride to effectively move the ball.
Robbie Allison, junior, said, “The field conditions took a real tole on us. We weren’t able to judge our passes correctly because the ball would skip over the grass or stop in the mud when we weren’t expecting it. All that made it hard for us to keep possession, which is crucial in a game like that.”
Allison went on to mention how the Pride failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities throughout the game. “The field was especially wide, but we never got moving down the sidelines,” said Allison. “We couldn’t possess the ball well enough in the middle, so we kept losing it, which meant are defense was almost always exposed.”
With his team done for the year, Dinkenor had a chance to reflect on his first year as the men’s head coach. “It was a really enjoyable experience,” said Dinkenor. “The team played consistently all season, everyone worked hard, and we had a lot of fun. I’m proud of them.”
Faelan Hoese, senior and co-captain, knew that losing on Friday night meant his high school soccer career was over. Even though he was devastated by the loss, Hoese was proud to have played for the Pride.