Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2006

Catching fire

Eudora takes opener 9-2, undefeated after two games

August 31, 2006

"One down, eight to go."

That's what the Eudora varsity soccer team yelled after it crushed Seabury Academy 9-2 Friday night. That win, plus a 0-0 tie Tuesday with Gardner Edgerton, has the Cards on the right track toward realizing their goal of finishing the season at .500 or better.

Within seconds of the opening whistle, Connor Hartpence stole the ball from Seabury, moved it up the field and passed it to Issac Welsh, who easily made the first goal of the game and season.

Then, mere minutes later, Erryn Kindle launched the ball near the edge of the center circle and made a clean goal.

The first half of the game continued in the same manner. An assist here, a goal there. By the end of the first half, the scoreboard read 6-1, Eudora.

After the Cards scored two more goals, coaches Matt Higgins and Paul Thevarajoo sent in the junior varsity team. Although the JV squad made several shots, nothing connected with the goal.

Finally, the clouds rolled in and it rained pretty hard on the soccer players, but it didn't stop the Cardinals from making one more goal, courtesy of Hartpence.

Fresh from the victory against Seabury, Eudora faced off against Gardner Edgerton Tuesday at Gardner's brand new activities complex.

After the start, the Cards seemed to stay mostly on the defensive as the ball flirted with their goal several times. But thanks to several diving saves by goalkeeper Anthony Barta, the ball stayed outside of the net.

Frustration mounted on the field late in the first half and when the game got physical, Higgins said Eudora was placed at a disadvantage.

Higgins said the obvious difference between the physical size of both teams put the Cards in an awkward spot.

"Our size match-up was our biggest challenge," Higgins said. "We were a lot smaller compared to them."

It wouldn't matter, however. By the end of the first half, the score was still 0-0.

Still, the frustration and physical play carried over into the second half and finally cumulated into a near fight.

Hartpence stole the ball from the Trailblazers and began working it upfield. With none of the defenders around, Trailblazer Darryll Todd earned a red card after he drilled Hartpence, who flew into the air before gravity took over and threw him to the ground.

The second half ended two minutes later with the score still reading 0-0.

The game then went into a 10-minute overtime period, when Gardner Edgerton finally had a chance to capitalize on Barta not picking the ball up fast enough in the goal box. But they were unable to connect with the ball and the Cards used the second reprieve to knock the ball back to the center of the field.

Still tied, the game went into a second overtime period. After yet another uneventful 10 minutes, the game ended in a tie.

Higgins said although the tie will not really help the team's goal of going .500, it doesn't really hurt either ? a tie is not a loss.

"We played awesome," Higgins said. "It was a huge challenge, and even though we tied, I loved it."

Eudora will have another chance to chalk up a win when it faces Kansas Highway 10 rival De Soto High School at around 5:45 p.m. today in De Soto.

Higgins said the De Soto game would be a big one, as the team had been zeroing in on the game since the beginning of the summer.

The Wildcats had beaten Eudora by a 10-goal mercy rule every time they'd played each other until last season. The Cats still won both times in 2005, but the games were closer.

Now the Cardinals hope to make them a lot closer -- they hope to win.

Higgins said he hoped as many people as possible would come and cheer on the Cards.

"We really want the crowds to come and support us," Higgins said. "We can't do it without them."

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