High School Soccer
Lyons helps keep Lions undefeated with impressive win over Tattnall
by Chris Goltermann
Trinity Christian’s boys soccer team is proving that they’re not about to get kicked around in the GISA anymore.
A starting lineup for the Lions containing just one senior in goalkeeper Josiah Gordon thoroughly dominated a traditionally strong Tattnall Square program 6-0 at home while led by junior midfielder Keith Lyons, who scored three times and assisted on a pair of Trinity goals in the non-region victory.
The win kept the Lions undefeated at 6-0 heading into Tuesday’s showdown with crosstown rival Heritage School at home. The Hawks dropped their first game of the season on Thursday in a loss to Region 1-AAA unbeaten Holy Spirit.
“If you had told me (Wednesday) that we were going to beat Tattnall, and do it 6-0, I would have been shocked,” said Trinity head coach Chad Whittle. “We’ve struggled against them in the past. I think they’re buying in now. It’s exciting.”
Backed by a strong defensive effort led by juniors Chris Okapara and Matthew Buck, who kept the Trojans from getting a shot on Gordon in the second half outside of several balls fired wide of the goal, Lyons dribbled through the midfield with both speed and grace with Tattnall defenders at times left at a standstill like cones.
A year after playing a bit of a second-fiddle to standout Rinaldi Alphonse, now a freshman at USC-Upstate, Whittle feels Lyons is ready to be the leader of a state playoff-caliber lineup now in 2014.
“I think we’re looking toward him,” said the Trinity coach. “It’s his team now. We’re starting to put it all together.”
Trinity built an early 2-0 lead over the first 20 minutes on the first of two goals by Korey McGinnis and another from Will Townsend with Lyons picking up an assist. The Lions captain then finally got on the scoreboard in the 27th minute after being taken down on the edge of the 16-yard box.
Lyons buried a high shot into the top-left corner to cap off a 3-0 halftime lead for Trinity.
Defenders Chris Thomas and Alec Collins also combined on the back line with Okapara and Buck in the shutout effort as Lyons really picked up steam in the final 40 minutes, scoring two more times and nearly a third in the second half while also starting a rush on net that followed on touches to Townsend and McGinnis before the latter pushed it into the net from the crease for a 4-0 lead with 22:52 to play.
Just over a minute later, Lyons was on the move again, finding open space inside Tattnall’s defensive zone to the left side before stopping mid-dribble and reversing directions to the center of the box for a wide-open shot that carried low into the right corner.
The Trojans’ backup keeper then initially denied Lyons a potential hat-trick on a point-black stop directly in front of the goal with 6:50 left only to have the junior storm through the midfield a final time nearly 90 seconds later.
This time, Lyons passed the ball around a Tattnall defender to himself while breaking in alone and firing a shot into the right-lower corner against a defenseless goalie.