It was a tough start for Lancaster’s boys soccer team Thursday as the Golden Gales dropped a 2-0 decision to visiting Hamilton Township in a nonleague game.
The Rangers (2-1) got both goals from senior Bleu Molinar.
“I have to give credit to Hamilton Township. They came out and played real well tonight,” Lancaster coach Kent Conklin said. “It’s their third game in six days, and they came out and executed.”
Lancaster (0-1) never really got into sync, managing just one shot on goal in the first half.
“Their outside backs did a good job of neutralizing our forwards,” Conklin said. “We wanted to test their keeper. He’s young and inexperienced, and their outside backs did a great job of shutting down our forwards. Patrick Wagner is our leading scorer coming back, and he didn’t get very many chances.”
The lone goal in the first half came when a Ranger shot on goal was deflected right in front of the net, and Molinar stuck it in for a 1-0 lead at the 29:04 mark.
“The first goal, we kind of made some mistakes and they capitalized on them,” Conklin said. “I don’t think we came out and executed real well, and I think they out-played us. They just played harder than we did.”
The score remained 1-0 until the 27:21 mark of the second half, when Molinar struck again, stepping past a Lancaster defender and finding the net.
“Molinar is a heck of a player. He scored against us last year,” Conklin said. “I think that was his fifth or sixth goal already this year. He created a chance and finished it.”
Conklin knows his team is young, starting five sophomores. He also knows this game is a stepping stone to what he hopes are better days ahead.
“We need to get better. We turn around and play again 48 hours from now,” he said. “We have to create offensive chances. Our kids get more experience each time we play. I think tonight they learned how hard they have to play to compete. We can’t just walk onto the field and win. We have to be blue collar and play hard to win the game, and tonight we learned that.”
Next up for the Gales is rival Logan in a game at Crew Stadium, a game the players look forward to each season.
“Playing at Crew Stadium is something they always rate as one of the highlights of the season,” Conklin said. “It’s a beautiful stadium, and playing a little later at 6 p.m. will be something special for the players.”