Soccer team still fighting for first win
The Eudora Cardinal soccer team (0-5) is twice bitten. A week after a contentious call ignited a 10-0 De Soto romp, Eudora was once again submerged in controversy, but this time the result was more apparent.
The Cards lost a devastating 1-0 contest Thursday with Turner.
The key play of the game was a Tyler Hartpence place kick. For the second time in three games, Hartpence successfully scored on an indirect penalty kick.
An indirect penalty kick is the result of an inadvertent foul. The ball must come in contact with another player before a score is allowed.
Once again, it was ruled that the ball did not come in contact with another player, and Hartpence's goal was waved-off.
Eudora head coach Erik Peltzman disagreed adamantly with the ruling. And at halftime an official suggested that the Cardinal coach was indeed correct in his argument. A possible protest could follow.
"From my standpoint it is one of the most frustrating things I've ever experienced," Peltzman said. "We're a young third-year program. We're not very fast, and this is a way to put points on the board for us."
It's a hard thing to swallow for the players as well.
"At the high school level, kids' emotions really do motivate," Peltzman said. "A couple of bad calls like that can ruin a season.
"When it happens enough it becomes tough to get the kids back and motivated that what they're doing is worth something."
Following the incident at De Soto, Peltzman re-emphasized his focus on he play in question.
"This time, we purposely had a kid touch the ball back to Tyler Hartpence, and he hooked another perfect shot into the goal," Peltzman said. "You practice those drills, and I'm sure every other team we play practices those drills.
"We practice them like a basketball team practices free throws. But then it's like that basketball team goes out in a game, hits two free throws, and the referee says he didn't."
The hangover from the Turner travesty followed the Cards into their subsequent match against Louisburg -- a 10-0 mercy-rule defeat.
"I was devastated to tell the truth," Peltzman said. "And it showed going into Louisburg. We got rolled.
"Halfway through the Louisburg game the kids got angry and tried to work through it, but they couldn't hold on."
Despite Eudora's struggles, Peltzman saw some positive signs.
"Something positive for our kids was that we had eight shots-on-goal this time," he said. "That's something we really wanted to improve on, so that's a positive for us. We were actually moving the ball up and getting some shots."
The biggest highlight came on the defensive side of the ball with goalie Steven Foster.
"Steven Foster might have broken the saves record," Peltzman said. "He was within the realm of 30-40 saves; which I think is more than we've had. I know he was even impressed with himself.
"It's especially impressive for a kid coming into his second year as a goalie. The problem is he has to save that many shots."
Another positive sign for the program is the successful evolution of its junior varsity club.
"The junior varsity's looking good," Peltzman said. "Head coach Matt Self has done a good job filling in for Bill DeWitt. It definitely helps us having another Eudora athlete out there. He's got history here, and that helps with what we're trying to create here. And it helps having that insight."
As for the varsity squad, their next test is Thursday at Ottawa.
"We head to Ottawa, and hopefully we can stave off another mercy-rule loss," Peltzman said.
Eudora follows with a visit from Pittsburg, which provided a close game last year.
"It's tough with a new program having no established history," he said. "It's tough being a soccer coach right now. But I'm hanging in there.
"I've been searching the internet for some tips and new drills. And I found one the other day that got the kids saying, 'now I get what you've been trying to say.'
"We're just trying to get back to the fundamentals and get back on our focus. And try to get some 'W's' in the win column."