Weekly Feature



2017-10-05 / Sports

Legends soccer shines against tough foes

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter

The Lancaster boys’ soccer team is in good shape after getting through the toughest stretch of its season. The Legends are now 6-2-1 in league play and 8-2-2 overall.

“Overall I am very pleased that we were able to make it through those two weeks and be in good shape for a push to get us ready for the postseason,” Lancaster Coach Chris Palmer said. “Apart from the Clarence game, we have been much better about dictating the pace and flow of the game. It has allowed us to stick to our game plan and not to change our approach to each team too much.”

The Legends tied Clarence two weeks ago before defeating West Seneca West and traditional power Williamsville North. However, the Legends flopped in their second game against the Red Devils of Clarence, losing 3-0.

“The Clarence game was, by far, our worst performance of the year,” Palmer said. “We came out flat and just never seemed to get anything going. As much as the players need to be better in big games like that, I place the majority of the blame on myself. It is up to me, as their coach, to make sure I get them prepared for each game. Coming off a huge emotional win against Williamsville North makes it difficult to keep that intensity up for another 80 minutes. My mistake was worrying too much about keeping the players rested and physically healthy by keeping practices shorter to stay out of the oppressive heat we were having. That caused us to lose the mental sharpness it takes to deal with teams like Clarence. I think we all have learned a lot from that game and we are moving forward having a better understanding of what we need to do to properly prepare for those situations.”

The team bounced back with a 1-0 win over Orchard Park. A big first-half effort propelled the team to victory.

“We came out strong in the first half against OP,” Palmer said. “We had a stronger presence in the midfield and did well to control the pace of the game. Being more of a physical presence in the middle of the field helped us keep possession in our favor.”

This success has come despite the fact that Lancaster is dealing with a few injuries. The substitutes who have stepped in for the Legends have done a good job replacing the starters.

“We have been dealing with quite a few injuries as of late and I’m proud of the effort that players from our bench have been putting in,” Palmer said. “It can be a long season for some of the players that don’t see as much playing time as the starters. Being able to rely on them for some big performances has been great.

The team will hit the field again this week, taking on Jamestown and Frontier in league games. While these teams don’t have the talent of firepower of Clarence or Williamsville North, they’re fully capable of defeating the Legends.

“I expect us to be at our best for both of those games,” Palmer said. “At this point in the season and where we currently sit as far as seeding goes, we cannot afford to give anything but our best. Any team on any given day can be dangerous, Jamestown and Frontier are no different. Frontier played us very well last time, and we need to make sure we don’t let the mistakes that allowed that to happen show up again.”

One area the team will be working on in the coming weeks is passing. Poor passes have led to turnovers, which have led to goals for the opposing team.

“The quality of our passes needs to improve as a whole,” Palmer said. “Many of the goals against us this season have come as a result of unforced turnovers and giving away possession. If we can keep that to a minimum we will continue to improve. We also have been working on our defensive marking on set plays. We gave up two goals off of corner kicks to Clarence. That is just not acceptable. Players need to take more responsibility in those situations and stay on their marks.”

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