Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2007

Season-opening loss doesn’t dim team’s hopes

August 30, 2007

Things didn't quite go as well as the Eudora High School soccer team might have wanted as it dropped its season opener to Gardner Edgerton in a 4-0 setback Tuesday afternoon.

The Cardinals (0-1) struggled to get anything going in the first half while the Blazers managed to punch in all four of their goals before halftime to come away with the win.

"A new defense, new goal keeper gives up two in the opening part of the game ... we are still trying to sort it out," Eudora soccer coach Gunar Harmon said. "The first half, against the wind, and we made it work. It was better in the second half. We had chances throughout the game. It wasn't like it was a one-sided, all-on-our-end kind of deal. We earned our chances and played the ball.

"We didn't make the best of our chances, but I am pretty satisfied with our first game."

Both teams had a little trouble adjusting to the wind in the first half, at least early on. After a few early looks at the goal by both teams, Gardner was able to claim the lead in the game as Ben Rawles was able to beat the defense to punch in a score.

Things started to go downhill after that for the Cardinals. Rawles was able to bounce another kick just over the outstretched hands of Eudora junior goalkeeper Derick Scrimsher for the second score of the contest to make the count 2-0.

By the end of the first half, the score stood decidedly in the Blazers' favor. In fact, the Cardinals didn't seem very comfortable out on the pitch at all the first half, highlighted by Eudora senior Connor Hartpence tapping a ball that ended up going into his own net for the third score of the contest.

"The other team played a formation that probably didn't favor the style of play that we are playing," Harmon said. "They were very compact in the midfield and we didn't have the ability to move the ball around, a lot of time to do anything. That made the players a little nervous, so we weren't quite possessing the ball as well.

Things went decidedly better in the second half for Eudora. Although the Cardinals weren't able to put the ball in the net at all during the game, they kept their counterparts from doing the same in the second 40 minutes.

"In the second half, we made an adjustment and matched them up," Harmon said.

As with most sports, elements play a large part in deciding the outcome of a contest. Harmon attested that his team struggled to deal with the wind that was a constant the entire game, especially for his goalkeeper.

"The ball coming at you with the wind is coming a lot faster than if it is into the wind," Harmon said. "It takes an adjustment. It is the first time he (Scrimsher) has ever played a game at the varsity level as a goalkeeper.

"It is a learning process. It is a process about getting to the last game of the season and maybe into the postseason."

Harmon said he'd like to see his team sharpen up a lot of the little things before it hosts De Soto at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The Cardinals will be looking to make it two in a row against the Wildcats. Eudora shattered its winless streak in the rivalry with a 3-2 win late last season, something the Cats (1-1) aren't likely to have forgotten.

Despite the final score Tuesday, Harmon said he was excited about what he saw.

"The effort was there," Harmon said. "The players put in that heart and the effort. I am very happy with that. They didn't tear each other apart, especially once the goals got a little on the heavier side. They kept a clean sheet after that."

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