Know what it’s called when a soccer player scores four goals in a match?
Seemingly, no one at Thursday night’s contest between Norfolk and the Lincoln High boys knew the answer — including coaches and the player, Ian Becerra-Scott, who scored four times against the Panthers to lead the Links to a 5-2 win. That’s how rare the accomplishment is.
And, interestingly, not even Becerra-Scott — who had completed the rare task once before — was aware that the accomplishment is referred to as a “haul.”
“I did it sophomore year, two years ago,” Becerra-Scott said. “But it doesn’t matter what I had; it’s all about the team.”
“I got two free kicks because two of my guys got fouls; I didn’t create the fouls,” he said. “We played a team effort tonight. I scored, but anyone else in my position and taking that shot would have made it, too.”
A steady rain fell through much of the game, causing difficulty in clearing the ball away from in front of the net for both teams and, unfortunately for the Panthers, that issue allowed Lincoln High to take a 1-0 lead when Ronan Parks punched a loose ball into the net at point blank range less than 30 seconds into the match.
“I knew we were facing a good team that had been scoring a ton of goals, so we changed our formation up a little bit and went with a 4-3-2-1,” Norfolk coach Joe Myers said. “We tried to pack it in, but they just have weapons all over the field.”
“The (rain) water on the ball definitely impacts the goalkeepers and the ball bouncing all over the place,” he said. “Going down a goal early was real tough psychologically, but we did battle back.”
Ten minutes later Becerra-Scott added to the lead when the senior drilled a line drive past Norfolk keeper Andrew Cudmore from 20 yards out, but Norfolk answered at the 14:44 mark when Arturo Castro was fouled while attacking the goal along the end line from the left side.
Castro converted the penalty kick from directly in front of the goal, influencing Lincoln High’s keeper to the right before putting the ball inside the left post to cut the Panthers’ deficit to 2-1.
Unfortunately, Becerra-Scott scored his second goal less than five minutes later, this time bending a right-footed shot from 30-plus yards into the top-right corner of the goal to return the Links to a two-goal advantage at intermission.
“In the second half, it’s a mental reset, a fresh half, like let’s try to win the second half,” Myers said. “It’s like another battle in the war to try to win; if we could get back one goal early, then we’re right back in the game. If it’s 3-2, then we have that momentum going.”
Both of Becerra-Scott’s second-half goals came on penalty kicks. The first at 19:25 was a drive from 25 yards out near the right sideline and was placed neatly into the upper left corner of the net.
The second followed a sliding rebound of a loose ball from just in front of the net by Norfolk sophomore Ben Schoenherr that gave the Panthers life, trailing 4-2 with just over 16 minutes remaining in the match.
However, Becerra-Scott created the final score and his “haul” with 1:28 left, sending a 30-yard shot from the middle of the field past Norfolk’s backup keeper, Adrian Romero, who had replaced Cudmore because of a recurring knee injury.
“When I watched the game film on them, it was hard to know which one to single out defensively,” Myers said. “Parks is a good player, Becerra-Scott is a good player, but you look around, they’re a very solid team.”
Lincoln High improves to 6-4 and 4-2 in the Heartland Athletic Conference, while the Panthers slip to 5-4 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
“Right now, we’re just trying to get back to winning some games,” Myers said. “We’re not really worrying about the big picture; in a couple more games we’ll start to figure out where we are in district seedings, but right now our focus is on Kearney because they’re next.”
Lincoln High 3 2 — 5
Norfolk High 1 1 — 2
Goals: (LHS) Ronan Parks, Ian Becerra-Scott (4); (N) Arturo Castro, Ben Schoenherr.