Soccer scores within two in final match
The Eudora Cardinals (0-16) soccer season met a merciful end Monday with a 2-0 loss to Bishop Ward (3-14) in the first round of the regional playoffs.
A pair of first-half breakaway goals was enough for Ward to advance to the second round of play.
"It wasn't a blowout," coach Erik Peltzman said. "They were just a little quicker to the ball and a little quicker to the goal. They capitalized on some mistakes by our defense, and our kids just aren't quick enough to recover."
After trailing 2-0 at the half, the Cardinal defense buckled down.
"I was impressed," Peltzman said. "They had two goals in the first half but none in the second. It was probably our best second half all year.
"We've had some trouble not staying in games mentally, but we did a nice job in the second half."
This was perhaps Eudora's best, and certainly its last, chance at earning a desired tally in the win column this year. And the squad looked to the state-bound Eudora volleyball team for a little inspiration.
"We drew Ward on Saturday, and we got the kids together at the volleyball game," Peltzman said. "We watched the end of the game and then practiced in the gym after the game.
"Just seeing the (volleyball team) go was a lot of motivation. It was one of the best practices we've had all year. We all felt pretty good and pretty positive."
Despite falling to win a match, the Cards remained upbeat and for the greater part left with a positive feeling.
"I was impressed after the game -- a lot seniors were proud of what they had done and how they had hung in there," Peltzman said. "We had some tough calls against us this year -- the game being called at half with Bishop Seabury, a goal getting called back early against De Soto, a goal called back again in the Turner game. And we held strong with Paola. We could have very easily gone 3-13 this year instead.
"We did a really good job this year, and I think the kids know that. You see a lot of improvement in the team.
"Even though we didn't have any wins, they can focus on the fact that we came so close several times."
The hopeful signs from this past season already encourage Peltzman to look ahead to next season.
"I'm definitely looking forward to next year," he said. "I think we did a lot of things really well this year. But I'm looking forward to a fresh start and a new beginning.
"You always have a plan for practice and the season, and then this year not enough things went right. So I've been looking forward to next year since the end of the Ward game."
The first step for Peltzman and company is maintaining perspective and momentum within the program.
"We're a young team, and we'll struggle some next year," Peltzman said. "But if we stay competitive and focused, we'll be able to compete over the next couple years. I think it will happen. I think it will just happen in the future.
"There's a lot of hope. If we can keep our numbers up the way we have and get a couple new kids in here, especially if they come in like Emily Gloshen -- great athletes that haven't played before.
"We lose a lot of big guys next year. But we picked up a lot with Emily. And she'll pick it up even more as a senior next year."
It all begins this off-season, said Peltzman, who hopes to see players in the weightroom and playing indoor ball.
"I look forward to seeing them grow and develop as athletes and to just see how much better they can be."
Although the head coach looks ahead to next year with eager anticipation, it's hard to say goodbye to this team.
"I get a sense of pride seeing them work hard and it's rewarding seeing them overcome all that they did this year," he said.