By VAN HOLLAND
Viking Joey Lancaster woke up in the second half and became the main attraction for an 18 minute period of time on the offensive side of the ball. He scored three goals in that short span and gave Tarboro a 3-1 victory against the Riverside Knights. It was the Vikings first ever Two Rivers Conference win in soccer and their first match since Sept. 26.
"I'm proud of the way my guys played tonight," Tarboro coach Leshaun Jenkins said. "Joey was big for us in the second half and helped us get a win."
After Tarboro's defense had a melt down just eight minutes into the second half, the Vikings offense woke up and produced, because they weren't going to be the first team in the past 13 years to lose on senior night.
Riverside was moving the ball and got inside the 18 yard penalty box and Viking goalie Jordan Williams committed to the ball to attempt to make a save and was beaten by a Riverside player, who made a pass and his teammate punched the ball in from six feet out and gave the Knights a 1-0 lead.
"That goal didn't get the team down, because we have played from behind before," Jenkins said. "By this time during the season, even though we haven't played in almost a month, we should've established an identity as a team and that is...we never quit."
Jenkins was concerned about how his team was going to respond to a match since they hadn't played after the near month off. They didn't let him down and wiped those concerns away quickly.
Just two minutes after Riverside scored, Samuel Flythe found Lancaster with just one man to beat, so Flythe flipped him the ball and Lancaster beat his defender and blasted a shot past the Knights goalie to tie the match at 1-1.
About six minutes later, Lancaster found himself having to beat two Knight defenders this time and made the most of the opportunity when he dribbled left and cut it back right and blasted another shot from about 10 feet out to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
He wasn't done just yet though. Lancaster took a shot from 25 feet out this time, which went over the goalies head to give the Vikings a 3-1 lead.
"Joey is shaky at times, because he isn't a seasoned veteran up front," Jenkins said. "But when he gets in the zone he can score like he did tonight. He never quits and plays with a lot of heart."
Tarboro took 33 shots on goal and were following their shots, which is something they hadn't been doing earlier in the season. Their defense held Riverside to just 11 shots.
"We have been working on following our shots," Jenkins said. "That has been a problem for us this season."
Tarboro hasn't won a conference title in the last three years, but have a chance to have at least a share, because them and Riverside are the only two teams in the conference. They play again today at 5 p.m. at Riverside.