Eudora not at home on Ottawa football turf
The Eudora Cardinals just didn't seem at home last Thursday night. Playing its season opener on a turf football field at Ottawa University proved to be a definite home field advantage for the Cyclones.
The Cardinals first lost the coin toss and had to play into the wind during the first half. Then to make matters worse, the football field itself caused problems for Eudora as Ottawa used its team speed and depth late to win, 5-1.
"It did make a difference for us in the first half, figuring out the bounces, figuring out the roles, the way things moved," Eudora coach Gunar Harmon said. "We adapted much better in the second half with the field and the wind calmed down.
"We lost the coin toss and from the standpoint of playing into the wind the first half and the wind died down, so it became a neutral field and they were a much fitter team, so they took advantage of that."
The Cyclones jumped to a 2-0 lead on the Cardinals early, scoring goals in the 11th and 9th minutes of the first half. But it could have been much more than that. Ottawa repeatedly had 1-on-1 scoring opportunities against Eudora goalkeeper Ben Miller in the first half but he stopped most of them, making several diving saves at the net.
"He made a couple of really nice saves. That's what we ask of him," Harmon said. "The goalkeeper is supposed to make one to two plays that can really change the momentum in the game and he did that in the first half and kept us in it."
Just one minute after Ottawa's second goal, Aslan Hague answered with a goal for Eudora via an assist from Jackson Wiley to cut the lead in half.
"Jackson got the ball in the corner and he kicked it to center of the field and I just got it in behind the goalie," Hague said.
But in the second half Ottawa's steady offensive attack and team speed and depth were too much for Miller and the Cardinals as Ottawa scored goals in the 30th, 19th and 6th minutes to put the game out of reach. "It looked they changed strategy in the second half to use more of the width of the field," Harmon said. "In the first half they were running right down the middle.
"Once we took the middle away from them that's where we kind of got back into the game and they tried to open it up by playing wide, which took advantage of some of the substitutions we were making," Harmon said. "And they have a lot of players who can just flat out run. They've got skill and it's what you expect."
In the second half, Harmon said his team lost focus, which aided to the final three goals.
"Communication errors, not communicating who has got to do what, when to do what, those things cost you against a team that can pounce on you quickly," Harmon said. "You get punished for your mistakes."
Harmon said that solving those communication errors and getting the team ready to play two games a week were priorities.
Eudora played its home opener against defending league champion Louisburg at home Tuesday night and lost 8-0. Eudora will next play at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Spring Hill.