Senior Lowell Knight scored both West Lafayette goals, one in each half, to give the Red Devils their first victory of the season, a 2-1 win over crosstown rival Lafayette Jeff at Scheumann Stadium on Wednesday.
Knight scored the game-winner with 25:51 left, 10 minutes after the Bronchos’ Christian Gonzalez tied the game.
“We were worried,” West Lafayette coach Andrew Kiernan said. “We had plenty of opportunities in the first half. We knew they would come back and be ready to battle in the second half.”
Gonzalez battled through two defenders and then slipped the ball past West Lafayette goalie Logan Sotelo at the 35:10 mark in the second half to tie the game and give Jeff new life. Until that time, the Red Devils had outshot the Bronchos and generally controlled the flow of the game.
“We thought we had a good chance to go up, because we had that momentum after the first goal, but we just let it slip away,” said Lafayette Jeff coach Nate Kelsey. “It was kind of disheartening, but we saw some improvement from the first half to the second half. Hopefully, we can take that into the second half of the season and get better and get that first win.”
Kiernan said he was pleased with the way his team played defense after Jeff’s goal because he could see how the tempo of the contest changed.
“We didn’t want them to have an opportunities, and props to them for finding the back of the net,” Kiernan said. “You could see the momentum shift there, but we battled through it.”
Knight’s second-half goal was a rocket shot from about 20 yards, finding the top portion of the net.
“That one shocked me too,” Knight said with a laugh. “Coach Kiernan is always telling us to shoot, shoot, shoot. The ball was right there in front of me, so I shot it and it went in. It was just nice to get this win after all the work this summer.”
Knight’s first goal came off a pass from Free Burton from about 10 yards out, beating Jeff goalie Alejandro DelReal at the 36:03 mark of the first half.
“We practice that shot all the time, and I’m so happy it finally worked,” Knight said. “Free played me a beautiful through shot, and I finished it off the far post. The hard work paid off on that one.”
Kiernan said he hopes his team can respond in a similar way when Hoosier Conference play starts Saturday.