LIMA — Pick a cliché: Baptism by fire. Jump into the deep end. Weather the storm.
Whatever one you might pick, Lima Central Catholic freshman goalkeeper Keonté Newell could add a few new ones.
Called on to start his first varsity game in goal Thursday night, Newell “rose to the occasion.”
Newell and his Thunderbird teammates faced 16 shots on goal from the Temple Christian Pioneers and stopped every one in a 2-0 win in Western Ohio Soccer League action at the Pioneers’ home pitch. The loss dropped TCS to 1-6 overall and 1-1 in league action. LCC upped its conference mark at 2-1 and earned its third win of the 2021 season.
“We set the challenge to protect him (Newell) and keep a clean sheet,” LCC coach Tim McNamara said. “He played well.”
Things looked a little rough midway through the first half as Temple applied significant pressure to the LLC defense and the freshman keeper.
After Kaden Odom broke a scoreless tie by beating Temple senior keeper Cody Motter off a cross from Javi De Pablo at 24:25, the Pioneers found an offensive rhythm that had everything except the equalizer. Temple controlled things for the remainder of the half, having multiple scoring opportunities, but were unable to finish.
There are only so many chances in a game and we didn’t finish,” Temple Coach BJ McPheron said. “LCC finished a couple of good opportunities.”
Temple nearly tied the match with 11:35 left to play in the first half when Ethan Wright made a cross to Caleb Kiser who hit the post, one of two Pioneer shots that drew iron in the game.
Newell drew high fives and cheers from his teammates when he stopped another scoring chance from Temple on a bicycle kick from Dawson Clay that Newell managed to flick above the crossbar to preserve the lead near the close of the first half.
The final 15 minutes of the first half earned the LCC squad a conversation with McNamara at intermission.
“We let off a little bit in the first half and talked to them at halftime and reminded them that we’ve got to protect him. We stepped it up a lot in the second half,” he said.
Junior midfielder Max Gaumier gave Newell and the Thunderbirds an insurance goal midway through the second half for the final tally to spoil Temple’s senior night.
Seniors recognized for TCS were Motter, Von Heffner and Darrick Clay.
Temple is back in action Monday against Botkins and LCC will travel to Jackson Center next Thursday.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.