Valley-Lanett set for soccer rematch

Published 10:30 am Saturday, March 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

For the first time ever, Lanett and Valley met on the pitch on Thursday, and the Panthers walked away with an easy 7-1 victory.

The Rams will try to get revenge as the two teams play at Ram Stadium on Monday night.

Lanett’s forwards had too much speed, and Valley could never get on the attack.

Email newsletter signup

The Rams’ only goal was a beauty of a free kick from Micah Williams.

Valley has a lot of work to do before the rematch, and head coach Will Elliott knows there’s a lot to be fixed.

“We have to get better at making smart passes,” Elliott said.

“We have to go to the ball and go to the goal when we’re on the attacking part of the field. Defensively, we have to get more aggressive.”

Elliott also explained what Lanett gave them issues with.

“I felt like Lanett started being a lot more physical and intentional with their passing in the second half,” Elliott said.

“They have some good players.”

Lanett’s offense was able to carve through Valley’s defense with just three attackers, and the Rams couldn’t stop the short passes.

For Lanett head coach Jakobi McCants, he feels like his team just needs to keep doing what they’re doing but with more emphasis on possession.

“Now that they know what we’re capable of, we want to control the clock,” McCants said.

“We need to stay aggressive but control the ball. We want more of a possession game versus a score, score, score game. As long as we control the game, we’ll be fine.”

McCants wants his players to stay focused even when not on the attack the entire game.

“Just know where you’re supposed to be,” McCants said.

“I want them mentally in a place where they can be comfortable with the game. We don’t have to score 10 points every time we play to be successful. It’ll be interesting to see what coach [Elliott] does. I have nothing but great respect for him, especially being a Valley kid myself. I understand the mentality they have down there. I’m sure they’ll come in and show that aggression with scoring opportunities.”

The first match between the two teams was chippy as frustration set it, but McCants wants his guys to not be instigators.

“We understand the chippiness with it being Valley, but I know he’ll keep his kids under control,” McCants said.

“I’ll for sure try to keep my guys under control. We’ll try to keep that off the field and make it simply about skill sets. Safety is key. I’m just looking forward to a good rivalry. Soccer is a sport that isn’t as broad in our area. I don’t want to diminish what we’re doing. I want the kids to have fun.”

McCants knows it’s still a rivalry, and he wants to sweep the Rams in Lanett soccer’s first season.

“That’s everything. You know how it is at Lanett,” McCants said.

“I want to make sure Lanett is known for what it’s known for. I appreciate coach [Clifford] Story for giving me the opportunity to keep that same rapport in the area. We want to make sure we are a force to be reckoned with. It would mean a great deal.”