Eudora falls to two
Cardinals drop to Highland Park, Tonganoxie
Momentum has left the Eudora Cardinals soccer program 0-10. The Cards appeared to be building some inertia following strong efforts against Ottawa, Paola and Turner. But those positive feelings seem rather faint now. In its past two matches, Eudora suffered a 10-0 mercy-rule loss to Tonganoxie and an 11-1 mercy-rule loss to Highland Park.
The back-to-back mercy-rule defeats were harder to take given the level of competition and the perceived opportunity for the Cards' first win of the season.
"We're getting mercy-ruled by teams we shouldn't be," head coach Erik Peltzman said. "There's nothing fancy about what Tonganoxie or Highland Park does. They're not Ottawa or De Soto. They're not great teams, and they probably won't get past the first round of the playoffs.
"That's the frustration. We hang in there and play a solid game with Ottawa and play a real close game with Paola and then this happens.
"I understand it's tough to play the way we did and then get knocked down. I imagine it's very frustrating being a player right now."
It's getting harder and harder for players and coaches alike to maintain positive perspectives. But Peltzman is still trying.
"I'm just going to keep pushing the kids to stay positive," he said. "I'm taking a Tony PeÃ±a approach and stressing that we just need to believe. There are opportunities out there. We're getting better; it's just hard to see we're getting better.
"We've got to just build on what we can do, achieve some small goals through the week, and as we achieve those goals build some confidence.
"I believe we have a pretty solid soccer team. They just need to believe it."
One of the positives has been the play of senior Bobby Linzer.
"I would say that Bobby Linzer feels a lot better about himself," Peltzman said. "He's scored our last two goals. Hopefully he can keep the other seniors upbeat and it can be something to build on."
On the other side of the coin is the struggle in goal of Steven Foster. The Cardinal goalkeeper has racked-up high save totals in nearly every game this season, but the issue is the number of saves he's been required to make.
The constant bombardment has been a psychological test for Foster and the entire defensive unit. Peltzman is entertaining the idea of moving Foster to a defender's spot and promoting freshman goalkeeper Anthony Barta from the junior varsity squad to fill the goalkeeper's position for Eudora.
"We've talked a little about it throughout the year," Peltzman said. "I mean, you can only be a keeper and get mercy-ruled so many times before someone else needs to get a shot.
"Steven could then play some defense for us. He's a big kid with quick legs and might be able to really help us out there."
The switch may help release the burden of responsibility from Foster's shoulders and infuse some life into the struggling program.
"Steven had an off night against Highland Park and he felt really bad," Peltzman said. "It may be time to change things up a bit and give Anthony a chance. It might relieve some of the pressure Steven's feeling.
"We've got to make some changes and get a positive atmosphere back in practice. We had been showing an improved effort running drills in practice but after the Highland Park game it was tough to see a face that had any hope on it."
Handing the critical goalie's role over to a freshman may seem dangerous to some. But the Cardinals are operating on a nothing-to-lose platform.
"Anthony's a good kid and has been a great goalkeeper for us on the Jv team," Peltzman said. "He's really aggressive which is what you need to be in that position.
"We've got to try something. And at least we have something to try."
Whether it's Barta or Foster, Eudora's next opponent is clear -- Perry-Lecompton on Monday at Eudora.
"They've got a great kid up front in Ryan Gaffy that is pretty much their offense," Peltzman said. "He'll be a real challenge for us. The kids all know him real well.
"Perry's got a pretty good defense but not nearly as many kids as good as Ryan."
Peltzman hopes that his team can take some of the pressure off his defense by putting pressure on the other team.
"If we can just start putting the ball in the net we'll be the ones pushing others back emotionally," he said. "We're finally getting the shots; they're just not getting in the net."