December 7, 2011 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - Louisville Lightning
LOUISVILLE, KY (December 7, 2011) - The Louisville Lightning opened up the playoff race in the tightly contested Eastern Division of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) last weekend. Overcoming tremendous odds, the team recorded their third win over the top team in the Eastern Division during the longest road trip of the season. The two-game venture west pitted the team against the Illinois Piasa Friday night and the previously undefeated Kansas Magic Saturday.
Road games are a challenge in the PASL, as teams typically travel long hours by car or van only to play multiple games with little recovery time. This weekend was particularly challenging for the Lightning as several of their veteran players were already unavailable. Adding to the standard challenges of travel, four Lightning players were injured in Friday night's game.
Loaded with a roster of travel-weary, untested, and injured players, the Lightning crashed into Kansas with something to prove. Having just lost the night before to a previously winless, but heavily underrated Piasa team, the Lightning players and staff rallied around the unthinkable challenge of striking down the undefeated Magic. The Magic previously beat both teams the Lightning loss to, the Piasa and the Detroit Waza.
Trailing 6-4 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Lightning rallied to score four consecutive goals, including a shorthanded blast that traveled nearly the entire length of the field from Ryan McDonald to close the game. Darren Yeagle and Charlie Campbell also recorded stellar performances alongside PASL rookie, and former member of DC United, Tiyiselani Shipalane. Shipalane was the only player to score two or more times for the black and yellow on Saturday.
At 3-2 overall following this weekend, the team now seems poised to take the reins in the Eastern Division. More importantly, while the schedule reflects a loss on Friday night against the Illinois Piasa and a win Saturday night against the Kansas Magic, it does not adequately illustrate the stories that helped the team to a victory over the previously undefeated Magic. Nor does the schedule reflect the enthusiasm felt through the team following Saturday's big win.
"We went in to the weekend shorthanded to begin with and found ourselves in a situation that forced the players to really step up their performance," said Lightning owner Ted Nichols, "The owners would really like to thank our players and especially coaches Scott Budnick and Mike Dickey for their efforts on and off the field. The victory over Kansas instilled confidence in the team and established something we can build on for this weekend's US Open match."
The Lightning face the Indy Elite in the second round of the US Open this Friday night at home at 7:30pm, followed by a home and away series against the Cincinnati Kings. Having already defeated the Kings twice, it is not unthinkable to suggest the team is in an excellent position to head into 2012 with a 5-2 record. At the end of the season, only the top four teams in the East will be invited to compete in the Division Playoffs before traveling to the League finals in San Diego.
For more information about the Louisville Lightning's third season of action and to order tickets, visit the official team web site at www.louisvillelightning.com.