WINTHROP — A pair of second-half goals lifted Lisbon past Winthrop 2-0 in a matchup of young Mountain Valley Conference boys soccer teams Wednesday at Charlie’s Field.

The Greyhounds (3-4) have won three straight games after opening the season with a four-game losing streak. Wednesday’s victory also avenged a 2-0 loss to the Ramblers (2-5) in Lisbon earlier this month.

“We’ve just been working really hard, and just improving. We’re a young team, and just how we’ve improved over the last few games is just tremendous,” Lisbon coach Shawn Rhoda said. “I mean, getting these three wins, getting us a chance to probably get in the playoffs now, beating a team that beat us earlier in the season.

“You know, these guys are just starting to kind of become a team.”

Rhoda credited improved chemistry for the three-game win streak, particularly as the Greyhounds mix a few veterans with five freshman and a couple of sophomores in the starting lineup.


“It’s cool just to see them starting to jell into something,” Rhoda said. “Sometimes it takes a little bit longer, when you don’t have a veteran team, but I couldn’t be more proud of how they played today.”

The Greyhounds started the game strong, keeping the ball in their offensive end of the field for most of the first 10 minutes.

The Ramblers began to flip the field more into their offensive end, and possession went back and forth for the remainder of the first half. The main difference is Lisbon was able to create more opportunities in the goal box while Winthrop struggled advancing past the midfield area.

The Greyhounds ended the scoreless stalemate about eight minutes into the second half. Nick Perkins, one of Lisbon’s few seniors, passed the ball upfield into space to Elijah Louins, who gathered the ball, dribbled it into the box and booted it into the back of the net for 1-0 lead.

Lisbon had a similar opportunity — Perkins passing the ball up to Louins — on the other side of the field about 10 minutes later, but Winthrop goalie Jaxon August attacked the ball and shut down the scoring chance before Louins gained full possession.

“He’s such a great player,” Rhoda said of Perkins. “And he’s shown such leadership this year … trying to distribute the ball and not just playing for himself. He’s been a huge difference. He’s such a good player.


“I’m glad he’s on our team, that’s for sure.”

August made a diving stop of another Louins shot, and denied Perkins from close range and then did it again when Perkins tried to score on the rebound.

“He’s a really good goalie. He’s been playing for us since his freshman year; he’s a junior now,” Winthrop coach John Baehr said. “… He’s one of our top players. In my eyes, I think he’s an all-conference goalie.”

The Greyhounds began stalling to run out the clock with about eight minutes to play, but still snuck in a few scoring opportunities. Perkins again sent a pass upfield, and the ball bounced over August. Lisbon’s Yonny Duarte got to the ball first, and while sliding he kicked it into the goal to extend the lead to 2-0.

“When I saw … it was just lying on the floor, and kicked it on the net,” Duarte said.

After the Greyhounds didn’t create many solid chances in the first half, Duarte said that they were able to break through in the second by “working hard, communicating.”


“We talk about it at practice all the time, just becoming a team and communicating,” Rhoda said. “And it showed today, and it showed the last three games.”


Baehr noted after the game that while the Ramblers are young — they started two seniors Wednesday and have only four juniors on the roster — Lisbon is equally young. Part of the difference in Wednesday’s game was the Greyhounds were better at using both sides of the field.

“I thought they did a good job switching the ball today, we didn’t do a good job switching the ball and attacking. When we did, we had opportunities,” Baehr said. “We’ve just got to keep grinding.”

Both coaches said that a major challenge for young teams is doing good things consistently.

“When you’re young and inexperienced — I mean, some of these kids are experienced, but we’re still young — you know, it’s tough to be consistent,” Baehr said. “It’s just a challenge, you know? And we’re halfway through the season, so there’s really no excuses, but we’ve just got to keep getting better.”


Because several teams have switched to eight-player soccer this season, only 10 teams are in C South. That has made the schedules more difficult for the remaining teams. Baehr said this year has been “the toughest schedule I’ve had in my tenure here.”

But Baehr and Rhoda both said that playing strong teams has been beneficial for their squads — even the lopsided losses to Mt. Abram (which beat Winthrop 6-0 and Lisbon 7-0) and Monmouth (defeated Lisbon 5-1 and Winthrop 5-0).

“I think those games early on versus Mt. Abram and Monmouth, even though we weren’t as competitive, it helped us, because we understood where we had to be,” Rhoda said. “So those games kind of help a young team, even though they’re one-sided … they understand now, this is what the competition is. So I think that kind of helps young players.”

Consistency is the struggle and the key is to consistently get better, which the coaches say their teams have done this season.

“It’s been great for the younger kids to play this type of competition every day,” Baehr said. “But, you know, everyone asks, ‘How is your record?’ And I don’t really look at the records. I look at how we’re improving every day — and we’re improving every day.

“Now, we have our valleys, and we have our highs, you know, so (we) just keep chipping away and try to get better every day.”



The Ramblers and the Greyhounds were playing their first games on artificial turf Wednesday. The Ramblers have practiced on the turf a handful of times, but the new field at Winthrop Grade School just began hosting games on Saturday.

The coaches both said their squads adjusted well to the different surface.

Baehr said he expects there will be less scoring, even though the turf will play faster.

“I feel like they’re going to be lower-scoring ball games — should be, because the field’s so darn big. I mean, it’s a legit field,” he said.

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