|High School Soccer:
Life Center Academy Streak Reaches 30 Wins
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
By Art Steffen
SJSports Special Correspondent
Last Saturday, Life Center Academy varsity boys soccer team got the chance it wanted to actually see if they had what it takes to compete against the big guys at Cherry Hill West. LCA, located in Burlington County, was on its biggest winning streak ever at 30-0. They belong to the Penn Jersey League which consists of some small Christian and local tech schools from Pennsylvania.
LCA has a total enrollment of less than 400 students which graduates on the average of thirty students a year. So you see, for us to get a group of players this talented was a miracle in itself. The other thing that makes this team so special is that it's made up of basketball players and a few baseball players just doing something to keep fit till their season starts.
There are ten returning starters from last year and included in that group was 6'1" Mike Lasme, a one man scoring machine (51 goals last year). During LCA first five games (5-0), Lasme has fifteen goals. If you watch soccer whether you are a fan or not, you have to marvel at the way this young man can handle a ball and his passing is precise. With backup players like 6'5" Quamay Jean Claude along with Quentin Logan striking on the right side, most teams were defenseless to their attacks.
In five games, our starting goalie Dwayne Watson (co-captain) has not allowed one goal with almost fifty saves and can boot the ball to the opponents eighteen yard line. He is a natural athlete who excels in every sport he plays.
Our defense includes 6'6" sweeper David Boudwin (co-Captain), 6'7" Josh Hedger fullback, Lance Weer fullback, Jonathon Reiner stopper, half backs include Geoff Ford, Quentin Logan, and newcomer 6'6" Arnaud Dahi. The front line consists of Arty Steffen (also a southpaw pitcher), Norman Davis and of course that non-stoppable Mike Lasme. Our second string includes the impressive forwards Matt Boudwin, Ryan Paglia, Michael Kurlander and Juston Moyer. Halfbacks Adam Ford, Brandit Couitt, Jon Kean and goalie Darryn Cotton.
So on this weather perfect Saturday, the LCA Warriors of Florence New Jersey came to Cherry Hill West's home field to play a team that I feel is one of the best in South Jersey. I don't know what was going through my players mind when they walked onto that field, but I sure had my share of butterflies. I knew we could compete but I did not know if my guys would choke. All I can say is that on that Saturday I seen some of the most physical soccer playing I have ever seen in my fourteen years of coaching. The first fifteen minutes were non eventful, but as the clock rolled on it became clear that Cherry Hill West was starting to get frustrated. I was not sure if they ever defended against players like Lasme and Quamay. I know they had to change their attack to accommodate the double and triple teaming of Lasme. I also seen in my players that I have not seen in a while and that is how they stepped up to the task at hand. A lot of kids were getting hit and hit hard yet they continued to play with great resolve. And that paid off because in the end, LCA won on a free kick from about twenty-five yards out with just over six minutes left to play. It was Mike Lasme's job to put that ball in the net. With the wall that West put up and their great goalie guarding, Lasme put in a shot on the ground that was perfect with less than inches to spare. All previous goals were penalty shots in the box. Those last six minutes were some of the longest I have ever experienced but thanks to the defense and the talented goalie Watson, we got through it.
If the score had been 2-1 in favor of West it would have still been a great accomplishment for this team from LCA. But to come out on top, it has become one of our most greatest challenges as a team and a victory that we will savor for a long time. For Coach Mike Haynes and myself we will always remember and take great pride in the fact that we got to coach one of the finest soccer teams that has ever bless the halls of Life Center Academy. We are now up to 33-0 since our last lost and that includes our latest victory over Burlington City 4-1.