Late-game goals ensure Cardinal win
The Eudora High School soccer team won for the second time in a row against Paola and their former coach Matt Higgins, defeating Paola by a score of 4-1.
"We have three games this week, so it's a real boost to get this win in the first game," Eudora coach Gunar Harmon said.
The players agreed with Harmon's assessment.
"It pumps us up to get a win right now, because we play two more games this week," Logan Hartpence said. "It's a good way to start things out."
The Cardinals played solid defense throughout, not allowing a goal until the final five minutes of the game. On the offensive side, they started out a bit slow, but as the game went one, the frequency of their shots on goal increased.
Harmon attributed the win to the team's ability to follow the gameplan, as welcome sign considering how the team's season had been going. The Cards lost their sixth consecutive game Saturday against Baldwin, falling 4-0.
"We executed our strategy," he said of the Paola game. "Against Baldwin, we stuck to the strategy for about five minutes. But we stuck to the strategy for the whole game."
The first goal came around the 20-minute mark. It was an own goal, but still managed to spark the Cardinals as the team went on to play with confident aggression for the rest of the game.
"You can take a few more risks defensively when you start score more goals," senior Isaac Welsh said.
Welsh didn't look very risky as he swarmed around the field on both offense and defense, coming up with big plays.
The Cardinals ended the first half up 1-0. Then, in the second half, the goals seemed to come all at once, as three goals were scored within the span of about 10 minutes. The more they scored, the more Paola seemed to fall apart, as players bickered with each other throughout the game.
Logan Hartpence, Welsh and Connor Hartpence, who connected from about 50 yards out, scored goals.
"I saw that the goal keeper was up a little bit too far," Connor Hartpence said of his long shot. "Coach tells us to shoot if the keeper is off of his line."
The goal served as en exclamation point in a game that meant a little bit more than usual as a result the fact that ex-Eudora soccer coach Matt Higgins now is the head coach at Paola.
"It's an emotional win because he (Higgins) used to be their coach, so I know it meant a little more," Harmon said.
Connor Hartpence echoed his coach's comments.
"We wanted to win more than usual because it is him (Huggins)," he said. "But it's actually pretty fun seeing him again."
The Cardinals improved to 2-9. They also played Tonganoxie Wednesday, but results weren't available at press time. The team plays Pittsburg Thursday and its final home game of the season at 4 p.m. Monday against Louisburg.
Harmon hopes this final stretch will prepare them for sub-state.
"We're trying to build momentum for the postseason right now," he said.