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Lakers still finding its feet in 2019 soccer season

After opening its 2019 season with a home win, the Chestermere Lakers boys’ soccer team has had a reversal of fortunes, with two consecutive losses on the road.

Following a week’s delay due to snowfall April 27, the Lakers kicked off the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) soccer season at Utley Field May 2, with a 2-1 win over the Bow Valley Bobcats.

Despite the strong start, the team has struggled in its subsequent matches. Playing away from home, the Lakers suffered a heavy 7-0 defeat May 13 at the hands of the Cochrane Cobras before losing 4-1 to the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers the following day. The defeats put Chestermere in sixth place of the seven-team RVSA, with three regular-season games remaining.

“It’s a good team – they’re gelling,” said Lakers head coach Will Raymakers after the defeat to Croxford. “It’s tough, with just a six-game season, to build synergy.”

The two teams were tied 1-1 at halftime, and there was little to separate the sides during the first 75 minutes.

The Cavaliers took a 2-1 lead early into the second half, but Chestermere pressed for an equalizer, and came close to scoring with a strike that hit the upright near the top corner of the net.

But with most of the Lakers pushing high in the Cavaliers’ half, the visiting team was left vulnerable at the back – W.H. Croxford’s forwards took advantage of the Lakers’ light numbers in defence with a counter-attacking goal with 20 minutes left.

The home team then solidified the result with an insurance goal five minutes later, when a Lakers defender accidentally redirected a corner kick and scored on own net.

“It was a close game that could have gone either way,” said Fahad Khan, a Grade-12 striker for the Lakers. “In sports, it can be like that. You just have to keep your head high and hope for the best.”

Considering the team has now lost two straight games, Khan said, competing for an RVSA banner is, perhaps, a low possibility for Chestermere this year. But he said the team will continue to challenge for points in its remaining regular-season fixtures and into the RVSA playoffs.

“We want to win it all, but the defeat today kind of hurts us,” he said. “We want to finish in the top three of the table, so we’re hoping for that.”

The Lakers returned to the pitch May 16 (after press time) to take on the George McDougall Mustangs in Airdrie.

“Whether we win the next one or not will remain to be seen, but I think we will,” Raymakers said. “We learned a lot in the last two games. It’s a good group of guys, and there’s a lot of talent there.”

The team will be back at home May 21 to face the unbeaten Bert Church Chargers – the two-time defending RVSA champion. Kick off is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. at Utley Field.

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