High hopes for Cardinal fall sports
For the Eudora Cardinals, the fall sports season looks to be a mix of high expectation, excitement and intrigue.
The football team is coming off a year that had the Cardinals on the brink of a state championship berth. The volleyball team's success was evident with a 20-win season. The soccer team looks to build on its inaugural campaign. And the very young cross country team is eager to make a run at rival powerhouse Baldwin.
Monday marks the first day of practice for Eudora High School fall sports.
Volleyball owns the distinction of officially kicking off the fall season with play Sept. 2 at Basehor-Linwood against Bonner Springs, Baldwin and Basehor.
The visit to Basehor is intriguing on a couple of levels. First, these are obviously the team's first games. But they won't be just any games. Eudora's top rival Baldwin will be there -- a Baldwin squad that the Cardinals beat in Eudora last year, and a Baldwin squad that qualified for state a year ago.
The Cardinals also are scheduled to meet the Bulldogs in Garnett Oct. 14 for the last game of the year.
The Cards other arch nemesis, Wellsville, will play host to Eudora Oct. 4 at the Wellsville Invitational.
Eudora has only one home game this year. And no, it's not because of a delay to get the new high school gym ready -- although that game could conceivably be moved to the middle school if necessary.
"There will be a home game in Eudora this year," said Eudora Athletic Director Dave Durkin. "We are not going to be just road warriors."
Well, not totally anyway. That sole home game will take place Oct. 7, when Anderson County, Prairie View and Osawatomie come to town.
Not only will it be the volleyball team's first home game, but it should also mark the first-ever home game by any Eudora team in the new gym.
"Hopefully we will be on a roll by then," Durkin said. "The volleyball girls are a very good team."
The cross country team will be out of the gates a couple of days after volleyball opens, taking on Anderson County in Garnett on Sept. 4.
The team, too, will have only one home contest, the Eudora Invitational Oct. 9, which is also the final regular season competition for Eudora.
"It should be a good meet," Durkin said. "It should be a good test for us. We have a good young bunch of kids."
That young bunch will have to contend with a couple of traditional powers, Gardner-Edgerton and Baldwin.
"Baldwin has dominated cross country the last five years or so," Durkin said.
Gardner will be the Cards' host Oct. 2 in Eudora's second-to-last meet.
The highly anticipated kickoff of the football season is Sept. 5 at home against Prairie View.
Cardinal football fans will certainly scour the schedule for matchups with Paola, Baldwin and Wellsville.
The Cards met both Baldwin and Paola twice last year -- including fierce battles in post-season play. Eudora split with Baldwin, winning the critical playoff match-up. They beat Paola each time, and Wellsville is simply an important rival.
Eudora will play all three on consecutive Fridays. The Cardinals travel to Paola on Sept. 26. They are host to Wellsville Oct. 3 and then head to Baldwin Oct. 10 to tackle the Bulldogs.
The following week they will entertain neighboring De Soto High School.
Soccer is the final fall sport to get the ball rolling. The Cardinals open Sept. 6 at Louisburg.
This is a significant soccer season for the Frontier League. Last year, Eudora became the first in the league to start a soccer program. This year, Paola and Louisburg will embark on inaugural campaigns.
After the season-opener against Louisburg, Eudora will play host to Paola Sept. 8, the Cardinals' first-ever home game.
They will play Louisburg again Sept. 29 at Eudora and their second shot at Paola will come Oct. 18 in Paola.