Run date: 11/19/12
ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay High School junior Sean Winterstein remembers what it was like two years ago playing for the Manta Rays boys soccer team.
Wins were hard to come by back then for a team that had talent that was yet to develop.
Now it has, and Winterstein demonstrated it when he delivered the only goal in a 1-0 victory against Charlotte on Monday that pushed the Manta Rays record to 5-0.
“We’ve got to keep working; we’ve got the thick of the season coming up,” a still hungry Winterstein said. “With more practice, hopefully we play a little better, move the ball around.”
The deciding goal came with about six minutes left in the first half as each team was clawing to be the first to put a mark on the scoreboard.
Winterstein gained possession in deep against the Tarpons defense and beat goalkeeper Austin Hartt to the left side.
It came as no surprise that Winterstein was the one who found the back of the net. Whenever the Manta Rays have needed a big goal in the early season, either he or senior teammate Corey Kern have usually been the one to provide it. Winterstein even admitted there was a friendly competition between them, although it doesn’t keep them from setting each other up.
“Our coaches are always telling us to work together, to play off each other,” Winterstein said. “Right now we’re playing well.”
For the record, they’re tied with goals apiece.
As good as the offensive pair has been for Lemon Bay, goalkeeper Joshua Kennedy may be even more impressive in the early going. The dual-sport athlete who just wrapped up the football season has yet to allow a goal so far, and it’s a welcome sign for Luzniak to have him back.
“He’s happy to be playing soccer again, and it’s showing,” head coach Zen Luzniak said.
But how do his skills as a kicker on the gridiron compare?
“As far as kicking field goals, I know he’s got a pretty decent foot, but I don’t know what his record was in football,” Luzniak said. “He’s definitely a better soccer player. I think soccer is his first sport and goalie is where he wants to be.”
Both teams came out of the gate strong, but goalkeeping on both ends was stellar until Winterstein was able to sneak his shot past Hartt.
But Hartt, who was supported by a solid defense, was able to keep his Tarpons in the game until the very end, denying numerous attempts from Kern to score as the last line of defense.