Lightning struck more than once at Zemp Stadium Monday night.
It struck five times for the Camden High boys’ soccer team in a shutout win over Lugoff-Elgin. The sixth time, real lightning was spotted in the sky, putting an early ending to the contest between the two rivals in the 69th minute of play.
Monday’s 5-0 victory kicked off a stretch of three matches in as many nights for the Bulldogs who won all three contests heading into tonight’s region pairing at Dreher.
As for Monday’s home date with L-E, the five-goal bonanza for the hosts was a marked improvement for their previous three matches in which they scored a combined total of one goal and were coming off consecutive shutouts to Andrew Jackson and A.C. Flora, respectively.
“We really played well,” said fourth-year Camden head coach Mark Chickering whose troops improved to 2-6 on the season after the L-E match. “I think this was our most complete effort since I’ve been here. As a coach, you live for days like these when everything goes right. L-E (5-4) is a quality team and beating them soundly is quite an accomplishment.”
The Bulldogs scored three first half goals within the span of eight minutes starting with a Chance Grein penalty kick in the fourth minute. Grein was fouled by a Demon defender inside the 18-foot box and awarded a penalty kick which he converted into the game-winning goal.
In the 10th minute, Nick Ranges scored on a header off a corner kick from Hunter Webb. Two minutes later, Grein found the back of the nets for the second time when Ranges made a deep throw-in on which a save was made off a CHS header. Grein, however, followed the ball, collected the rebound and sent it home for a 3-0 lead which the Dogs would carry into the locker room at the break.
Chickering said for a team which has struggled to score goals this season, a quick start was just what the Dogs needed.
“We got ahead early and never let up,” he said. “I told the guys before the match that we have given up the first goal in every match this season. I asked them to score first and see what happens.”
Ranges found his way into the scoring mix for the third time when deposited a deep throw into the goal to make it 4-0 in the 44th minute.
Camden saved it best for last with what Chickering said was a goal worthy of an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 entry.
In the 54th minute, Camden’s Edgar Gonzalez bicycled kicked the ball over his head to Carlos Williams who volleyed it in from the center of the box. “The keeper had no shot. That was really a beautiful goal,” Chickering said of the night’s final tally.
Both teams sent seven shots on the opposition’s goal with Camden making the most of its chances while sophomore keeper Ryan Robles came up big on six saves.
Chickering said after being so close this season, his team was able to put things together on Monday in all facets of the game.
“We’ve really struggled offensively all season,” Chickering said. “We really caught lightning in a bottle and never let up. We saw signs of this in the A.C. Flora game but tonight, we put it all together and finished our chances.
“While our offense played well, our defense really played well. We had given up a ton of cheap goals all season. We worked in practice on not giving up cheap ones. Right now, we are making teams earn it.”
Dogs blitz LR: Facing a Lower Richland program which has struggled in the past, Camden tried to put its Tuesday meeting with the Diamond Hornets away early. The result was a not-too-dominating 3-0 halftime lead.
The second 40 minutes was an entirely different story as the Bulldogs pulled away for an 11-0 romp.
The victory was the second in as many nights and, second consecutive shutout for Chickering’s troops which improved to 1-1 in Region 4-AAA play and 3-6 overall.
Williams netted the first of his two goals on the night in the fourth minute in taking a through pass from Grein and dribbling in for the goal, Webb made it 2-0 in the 12th minute when he charged in and squeezed home a shot just inside the near post.
Williams closed the first half scoring when he broke loose and fired a shot on goal which was turned aside. Williams followed his own shot, though, and scored on the rebound as the hosts jumped to a 3-0 lead in the 22nd minute of play.
Williams picked up an assist in the 43rd minute when Nick Ranges volleyed home a centering pass from Williams. Ranges then made it 5-0 when he scored a second straight goal in the 46th minute when he broke free from the LR defense and sent a left-footed goal into the corner of the box.
Camden, which held a commanding 15-2 advantage in shots on goal, would score six times in the closing 30 minutes starting with a Grein tally in the 50th minute. Amauri Suaraz made it 7-0 with his goal in the 56th minute of play before Hunter Webb scored four minutes later.
Senior Dylan Reyes notched the first two goals of his career in back-to-back fashion at the 63rd and 68th minutes while Granger Rabon closed out the scoring with his first goal, which came with eight minutes left in the match.
Robles had an easy time of things in the nets as he turned aside a pair of Diamond Hornet shots in posting his second consecutive shutout.
Camden had an emotional win over Lugoff-Elgin on Monday to kick off a four-match week in which three of those would come in a row capped by tonight’s trip to Dreher. Chickering said his team may have had a letdown one night after the victory over their rivals.
“We were a little sluggish in the first half,” he said. “We had too many tries trying to get up the field and score. We had six offsides penalties in the first half and only three goals.
“In the second (half), we had one offsides and eight goals. Obviously, we played a lot more unselfishly in the second half and we scored a lot more.
“We played a good second half which allowed us to get some guys in and get playing time. It was good to see new guys like Dylan Reyes and Granger Rabon get their first career goals.”
Dogs take down Lions: The Dogs used three second half goals to snap a 1-1 halftime tie for their third win in as many nights; this a 4-1 victory over visiting Lewisville.
“We came out and took charge early in the second half and put it away,” Chickering said after his team improved to 4-6 on the season.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Williams gained control of a deflection from a Ranges shot and sent home the night’s first goal.
The Lion evened things when CHS failed to clear the ball out of its zone and the visitors cashed in on the mistake for the game-tying goal a minute later which ended the first half scoring.
“We really possessed the ball well and kept it in their end,” Chickering said of his team’s play. “We had one defensive lapse and it cost us a goal.”
The Dogs rallied after intermission starting in the 43rd minute when Williams scored on a rebound of his own shot on goal.
Three minutes later, Ranges headed in a Webb corner kick for the 3-1 lead.
With six minutes left in the 80-minute contest, Camden’s Edgar Gonzalez gained possession of the ball and dribbled inside the box and sent a shot past the LHS keeper to extend the lead to 4-1.
CHS peppered the Lewisville goal with 14 shots. Robles faced three shots on goal and had two saves in the Bulldog nets.
Chickering said his leg-weary team still had something left in the tank after a tough stretch of matches.
“It was a good win especially considering it was our third match in a row,” he said. “I’m really proud of how hard our kids fought considering how tired they were. It’s always nice to win. These guys (LHS) really made us work hard and are a quality team.”