FHC Varsity Soccer defeats Lowell, Putting Themselves in Position for a Conference Title

FHC Varsity Soccer defeats Lowell, Putting Themselves in Position for a Conference Title

Sam Hopkins, Sports Editor

Running over to the corner flag and doing a quick celebratory dance, junior Ian Abel was mobbed by his energized teammates. Just moments before, Ian had driven a shot low across the net and into the bottom corner of the Lowell goal.

“We lost to them once already and it wasn’t going to happen again,” Ian said. “Everyone out there gave their all in every aspect of the game. Good team effort and a good win.”

Thursday night, FHC took on Lowell in a key conference matchup. The Rangers defeated the Red Arrows by a score of 1-0. With this win against a competitive conference opponent, the Rangers are now in the driver’s seat and predicted to take home a conference championship.

“Today we took a big step,” head coach Blair Lincoln said. “To come out and beat a team that we lost to earlier this season was huge. Our job’s not done. We’re headed back to conference next week and have to wrap up our next two games.”

With damp, moist weather throughout the day, the field at Lowell stadium was in poor condition come game time. The conditions of the field played a big factor in this matchup, as both sides started out the contest with sloppy play and numerous turnovers.

Early in the first half, with twenty-six minutes till halftime, the Rangers jumped out ahead with an early goal. Coming off of an assist from junior Nolan Vandegrift, Ian was able to score the only goal of the night.

The next significant moment would occur twelve minutes before half. Lowell started applying more pressure after going down a goal and had managed to win themselves a corner. With junior goalkeeper Jared Ireland off of his line, the Red Arrows had a chance to knot up the game at one a piece. Lowell was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, giving the Rangers a sense of relief.

The Rangers managed to survive until half with a narrow one goal advantage.

“They key tonight was effort,” senior captain Kevin Conn said. “When we got on the field, we were ready to go 100%.”

With the second half underway, Lowell looked to press forward, in search of an equalizing goal. Throughout the duration of the second half, the inexperienced Ranger defense would be tested.

With thirty minutes remaining in the match, the Red Arrows won a corner kick. Off a ball sent in, a Red Arrow attacker headed the ball just inches over the crossbar. Yet again, the Ranger defense bent but did not break.

“We were making things harder than they needed to be,” Lincoln said. “We just needed to get organized and clean up some of our sloppy mistakes.”

With thirteen minutes remaining, FHC survived another scare. Counter-attacking from an FHC corner kick, a Red Arrow attacker ran free. Receiving a pass from his teammate, he met Jared one on one. Again, Jared rose to the occasion making another crucial save.

As the second half wound down, the Rangers began to reclaim control. With seven minutes to go, junior Cole Daire cleaned up a blocked shot and put it into the back of the Lowell net. To the dismay of FHC, the head official called off the Rangers’ second goal due to a hand-ball inside the box prior to the shot.

Although the Rangers second goal didn’t count on the score sheet, it brought back momentum and energy that the young team had been lacking.

“Everyone out there tonight played with a lot of fire and passion,” Ian said. “Early on and late in the game we picked up our play and got the win because of it.”

As the clock hit zero, the Rangers walked off the field victorious and confident in their ability to win the conference title.

“We go on to face Greenville and Cedar Springs,” Kevin said. “If we take care of business and play like we know how to, then it should be all ours.”