“Everyone was getting excited, and adrenaline was flowing. We thought we had it in the bag.”
The Leesville Pride Men’s soccer team were on top of the world when their sophomore playmaker Abdul Qurneh nailed a goal with 9:08 left in the second half. The team and fans broke out into celebration, with every reason to.
Leesville had the lead over Green Hope, the defending 4A State Champions, after the game had been tied for over 70 minutes. There were many near goals and missed corner kicks by both teams, but great goaltending became the talk of the game.
Qurneh had missed a few shots prior to his goal but kept his energy the same. From that point on, it became the Pride’s goal to ‘park the bus’ (hold a defensive stronghold on the opposing team to prevent scoring).
The Pride’s defense held up well against Green Hope, as defenders Sam Sawyer and Andrew Kistner intercepted passes and blocked shots multiple times throughout the night.
Unfortunately, the momentum shifted quickly with 4:56 left in the game.
Green Hope gained possession of the ball, where they knocked down a long distance shot from the right side of the field, sailing just past Kieron Leonida, Leesville goalie, to tie the game 1-1, which ended as the final score of the game.
Andrew Kistner, senior, was disappointed with the result: “[Abdul’s goal] helped us out with our momentum. We were just trying to hold out, and unfortunately we didn’t.”
The Pride have nothing to hang their heads about, because even though the team has not won a game yet, their showing Wednesday night was their best all season.
Qurneh kept good spirits about the game even though the game’s ending was not what the team wanted: “Everyone thought we were gonna lose because they were state champs, but we ended up almost winning. They got a lucky goal in the end but we still kept up with the game and didn’t lose.”
Qurneh and Kistner agreed that finishing and moving the ball quicker would be the main thing to improve on for the team, so that more scoring chances can be created.
The Pride’s record adds another tie to their record at 0-3-2, and will play their next game on September 4, at home against the Wake Forest Cougars.