Coming off their first win of the season after defeating Niles West, Lane hoped to continue their ways heading into their conference opener versus the Senn Bulldogs on Sept. 1.
While the numbers, a 2-0 win for Lane, don’t tell the whole story, Lane was able to do just enough to get past the Bulldogs (0-3-1) and improve their win streak to two.
Senn pushed the pressure on Lane early, but Lane’s aggressiveness didn’t allow Senn to score. Lane had better control of the ball, dominating passes but they couldn’t get through Senn’s tough defense. This continued throughout the entire first half of the game as the halftime whistle blew with the score locked at 0-0.
Coach Ricks said this was because Lane couldn’t figure out Senn’s defensive strategy until the second half of the game.
“They’re playing an offside trap — when they’re using offside to defend as opposed to defending, that allows us to get a lot of space behind them,” Ricks said. “We couldn’t figure out how to get behind them, and when we did, we didn’t finish our chances — that was very frustrating.”
Lane’s pent-up frustration turned into risky impulsiveness, which resulted in a yellow card for sophomore Wilson Smiejek. The game was very physical and rough as there were many penalty kicks from both sides.
A player from Senn was ejected but that didn’t put a stop to Bulldogs’ force.
“They had a man ejected and they still probably played better than us with ten men, and we had eleven,” Ricks said.
Lane came back from the second half energized, roughing up Senn’s passes and setting their eyes on the goal. There were many unsuccessful attempts on goal while Senn was plagued by missed opportunities.
Senn’s strong defense was beginning to unravel in the final minutes of the game as miscommunication with their goalkeeper led to a few near-misses.
Even so, Lane wouldn’t hit the back of the net until there were only ten minutes left in the game when senior Thurston Page scored the game’s first goal, assisted by junior Mauro Ruiz.
“Once we got that first goal, things opened up a little bit,” Ricks said.
The momentum carried Lane to their second goal, scored by sophomore Ben Dopp, with three minutes left in the game. A hole opened up because of Senn’s faulty strategy of sending all of their men forward, but not leaving enough defenders to protect their goal.
Despite the two goal margin at the end, it was not an easy win for Lane.
“Today was a bit sloppy and I’m pretty sure that’s due to [it being] our first [conference] game, but we look forward to the next game,” said senior Nico Wagner, Div. 274.
Ricks echoed the same message.
“There are no easy games. We are a good team but we [have] a lot we need to improve upon. We’ve got the potential,” Ricks said.
A quick turnaround haunted Lane, as they fell to Lake Forest 2-1 on the road the next day, Sept. 2. The loss dropped Lane to 2-1-1 on the year.
Lane will look to get back in the win column when they travel to Steinmetz (0-3) for a non-conference matchup on Sept. 8. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m.