Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Defense improves, but Cardinals can’t slow losing slide

October 12, 2006

Close games and solid play just haven't added up for the Eudora soccer team, but that doesn't have the Cardinals down.

Although the Cards lost to Baldwin on Saturday 4-0, coach Matt Higgins said the game was far from a complete loss.

"If you look at how the game was played, Baldwin did not dominate it," Higgins said. "We played well and were pretty evenly matched. They just have a couple athletes that played at the next level, but we still were able to possess the ball about 40 percent of the time."

The Cards then marched into another hard-fought game on Monday against Paola. Higgins said the game was one of the closest the Cards had played all season.

After a scoreless first half, the Cards managed to keep Paola on the defensive. Finally, with about 10 minutes remaining in the second period, Paola managed to sneak one past the defense. The Cards were not able to return the goal, and the game ultimately ended a 1-0 loss.

Higgins said the defenders really flexed their muscles at the Paola game.

"We've really stepped it up to a new level," Higgins said. "The defenders are talking a lot more. Even though we lost, they were just playing so much better."

Higgins said another thing the four defenders -- Jacob Cox, Derick Scrimsher, Kayla Chilcoat, Collin Whitebread and Jim Thoennes -- did exceptionally well was effectively passing the ball to the midfielders.

"Instead of just blindly kicking the ball, they moved the ball well to the midfielders," Higgins said.

However, Higgins said the offense had some problems at the Paola game. He said the forwards were not passing properly and were not utilizing their knowledge of two-touch passes. As a result, their goal attempts failed.

Another aspect that Higgins said contributed to the two losses this week was the team's inexperience.

"They haven't grown up watching and playing soccer, so they don't necessarily have knowledge of the game," Higgins said. "The more you watch and play, the more you learn how the game works. We've been watching a bunch of games to help fix that."

Although the Cards have a losing record with one win, two ties and 11 losses, Higgins said the team had come a long way. And with only two games left before the regional tournament, Higgins said the team would perform well.

"I'm excited for the last two weeks of the season," Higgins said. "We are playing the best soccer we've played all season."

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