Sporting WCA

Westminster Falls to Priory 4-2

The Fútbol Cats faced off against the Priory Rebles in a heavily-hyped up semi-final match of the METRO League Preseason Tournament Wednesday afternoon. The Wildcats were defeated 4-2 by the defending state champions from up the road as Westminster’s defense lacked throughout the entire game.


Priory got off to an early lead in the first half, scoring on Joey Keane to go up 1-0. For the next 15 minutes, play went back and forth until a defensive miscommunication by the Wildcats put the Rebels up 2-0.


“We had to start out working the other team and stay with our marks and step to the ball quicker,” said Junior midfielder/defender Mike Lemp.


However, after a timeout was called for a water break with 19 minutes left in the first half due to the 105 degree heat index, Westminster netted its first goal off of a deep direct kick from Senior Nathan Laughlin.


“I just saw that there was space to bend the ball over the wall and have it dip back down under the crossbar,” said Laughlin, “I didn’t think about it once I saw that and instinct just took over.”


2-1 was the halftime score. Priory had scored twice in the first half and done nothing spectacular. After the game, Coach Dan Legters, affectionately known by his players as “Señor,” talked about applying more pressure on the ball, starting with the offensive players, to prevent giving up easy goals.


“We just need to work on putting a little more pressure on the ball and talking to each other, and saying, ‘Hey, if I’m going to step, where is my help coming from,’ so we can close down some of those lanes,” said Legters.


In the second half, Westminster’s offense looked more aggressive at the outset, but as the team’s traded scoring opportunities, it was Priory who scored once again to extend their lead to 3-1. Obviously, there was still enough time left for Westminster to come back. More than a quarter of the game had yet to be played. But as the clock continued to tick, the Wildcats found themselves struggling to put it all together and get a goal back.


It wasn’t until Sophomore forward Luke Laughlin sent a high cross over the goalie box that was spectacularly headed by a diving Mike Lemp and snuck past the outstretched Priory goalie that Westminster was able to draw within a goal.


Lemp watched the ball connect with the back of the net from his stomach.

“When I scored I was just thinking that the goal would spark a light that would get our team going and comeback and win the game,” said Lemp, “and I was super excited to be able to shoulder bump my brother on the field after I scored, that was a special moment for both of us.”


The Westminster students, brought to Priory on this blazing afternoon by the allure of rivalry, went crazy. The Westminster student section was, excluding district games, probably the largest crowd a Wildcat soccer game had seen in years, easily outnumbering the obnoxious student fans of the home team that calls itself a “soccer school.”


The joy was short-lived, though. Another defensive lapse quickly gave Priory another two goal lead with around 15 minutes left to play. This comeback proved insurmountable for the Wildcats, who had numerous solid scoring chances in the closing minutes, but were simply unable to convert.


“We played OK for the second game of the season, but we need to tighten up defensively across the field with marks and physicality,” said Laughlin.


The final score was 4-2.


Even though they may have lost Game One against Priory, this Tuesday afternoon under the sun was a moment of pride for Westminster and its athletics. The students of Westminster had come to an away game in the blistering heat to watch their team take on the defending state champs and stayed till the very end.


“We’ll beat them when it counts,” said Lemp.