Admittedly, he had some nerves that season, especially with a senior on the bench when Lancaster was on the field.
“Starting as a freshman, I felt a lot of pressure, especially in big games like Lassiter and Walton,” Lancaster said.
A year later, however, he came into his own. The goalkeeper limited opponents to an average of less than one goal per game as the Eagles (13-6) played their way into the Class AAAAAA state playoffs.
Lancaster recorded seven shutouts, while in three of the team’s losses, he allowed just one goal.
For his contributions to Etowah’s success this season, Lancaster is the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Though, Etowah lost 1-0 to eventual state champion Berkmar in the opening round of the playoffs, Lancaster said he was proud of helping the Eagles reach the playoffs this year — a goal they fell short of in 2012.
“I felt I had a good season,” he said. “I felt like I made the players around me get better. I think that was good for us.”
Lancaster, who has been a goalkeeper since he was 10 years old, is built for the position. At 6-foot-2, he has a wingspan to make him a force in the net. He practices his goalkeeping in training sessions with his North Atlanta Soccer Association club team and Dan Petro, whom Lancaster credits for making him a better player.
“I hope that I can keep on growing,” Lancaster said. “I have always just liked diving and jumping around, so the position is perfect for me.”
Lancaster said he has enjoyed being a part of the team at Etowah, but he isn’t sure if he will be back next season. He is hoping to make an academy team, which would make him ineligible to play in high school.
“I would very much like to make academy,” he said. “We have had practices for the last couple of weeks and, hopefully, I get a call in the next week or two. That is pretty much the highest team you can get on for my age.”
Whether he is playing at the high school or academy level next year, Lancaster knows he will be back on the field, disappointing opposing teams with his talent and making his coaches and teammates proud.
In fact, everyone counting on him is one of the things he likes the best.
“I like that there is so much pressure on the goalkeeper,” Lancaster said.
Still, that can make the one-goal losses particularly had to take.
“You just have to move on and focus on the next game,” Lancaster said. “You kind of have to learn from your mistakes and, from there, hopefully make that save that you didn’t make the last time.”