Cardinals improved with Panther play
The Eudora Cardinals soccer team is off to an 0-3 start, but the effort on the field and the competitiveness of the games have definitely elevated over the previous two seasons.
Both the improvement made and the improvement needed were showcased Tuesday in Eudora's home-opener with Paola. The Panthers edged the Cardinals 3-1.
"Paola's a good team," said head coach Erik Peltzman. "They're just a little bigger and a little faster than us, and it's hard to keep up."
Eudora kept up throughout the first half, trailing just 2-1 at the break.
"We were in it early. Going into the second half we were looking pretty strong," Peltzman said. "Paola had the wind in the second half, and they started out with a tough goal to go up 3-1."
The two-goal lead was a bit much for the Cards, who have struggled to put the ball in the net.
"We had four or five shots on goal," Peltzman said. "For us that's a big improvement. We were only getting one or two a game last year."
The Cardinals traveled Sept. 2 to De Soto, where Eudora's season ended a year ago in a bi-district loss.
Including the playoff loss, De Soto mercy-ruled Eudora twice last year. The Cardinals were intent on changing that trend early this season. But it wasn't to be. The home-standing 4A state runner-up team took care of Eudora 10-0 in a game that ended before the midway point of the second half.
The Cards got off on the wrong foot early in the contest when a Tyler Hartpence goal was waved off by the official. The controversial call deflated the Cardinals and infuriated their coach.
"It's just hard when you're a young team and get a really tough call to start a game," Peltzman said. "It kind of takes the wind out of your sails. We had an incredible group show up; they were really pumped. You could see the kids go from really high to really low.
"But the kids played so much better at De Soto than they did at Seabury."
On the surface, the loss to the Wildcats ended one of the Cardinals' top goals this season.
"Our goals coming in were four wins and no mercy-rule losses," he said. "I told the kids that I wouldn't consider the De Soto game a mercy rule.
"And we do get to play them again."
The De Soto squad acknowledged the call's significance as well as the significant growth attained by Eudora's team.
"The coach said that goal was tough and that it could have turned around the whole thing," Peltzman said. "He said his team would have been shocked to have been down early to us.
"In soccer a lot of times the team that gets that first goal gets a big advantage."
Eudora plays Turner, the site of the program's first win, Thursday. Then the Cardinals return home Monday for a match-up with Louisburg. Both games begin at 4 p.m.