BUTLER — Consider Tuesday’s match a chance to get acquainted.
Lakeland registered its first win of the season, topping Eastside 5-4 in a Northeast Corner Conference match at Butler.
Round two comes next Tuesday when the teams return to Butler for an NECC tournament matchup.
“We finally finished,” said Lakeland head coach Joe Miller. “Against West Noble, we had like 17 shots and only put one in.
“We got a few more finishes (tonight),” he said. “We’re getting the opportunities. We’re just not putting it in the back of the net. We finally got some of that tonight. That was good to see.
“We finally started connecting passes together,” Miller said. “We’ve got a lot of young players, I think 11 freshmen. We’ve got talent on the team. We’ve just got to put it together.”
Eastside coach Sal Gomez said, “Personally, I think we’re a little bit better than where we were at the start of the season, but the kids’ communication wasn’t there.
“The first 10 minutes, after that first goal, we settled and we don’t know what’s going on after that. (Lakeland) took advantage of their opportunities and scored all of those goals.
“Communication could have been better,” he continued. “The second half, we completely controlled the game and kept them in their own half.
“I think both teams are pretty even,” Gomez said. “They’ve got good players and we’ve got decent players ourselves.”
Eastside got the first goal of the night from Binyam Biddle in the first five minutes of play. Lakeland (1-6 overall, 1-2 in the NECC) got two goals from Hilberto Sanchez and single tallies from Mason Douglas and Isaac Larimer for a 4-1 halftime lead.
It became 5-1 Lakeland when Sanchez completed the hat trick with 31 minutes, 17 seconds left in the match.
The Blazers (2-3 overall, 1-2 in the NECC) got the next three scores to make things interesting.
Just over a minute after Sanchez’s third goal, Eastside’s Zach Northrup took a feed from David Rotz and wired a shot to the top left corner of the goal to make it 5-2.
With 17:05 to play, Nic Blair headed in a corner kick by Binyam Biddle. Northrup struck again with 6:44 left in regulation on a pass from Chayse Hulbert.
Sanchez and Caedan Caballero had one assist each for the Lakers.
Both teams host nonconference opponents Thursday. Lakeland entertains Wawasee and Eastside plays Woodlan.