Offense misses chances during season-opening loss
The chances were there, but Tonganoxie just couldn't register a goal in its season opener Friday.
Unfortunately, Mill Valley managed two in the second half, spoiling coach Luke Denney's THS debut.
The teams, playing in Shawnee, were scoreless in the first half, but the Jaguars tallied their first goal about 20 minutes into the second half and then scored their final goal a few minutes later.
"We probably had five or six chances to score," Denney said. "Any game, that's usually enough to win."
Mill Valley shut the Chieftains out last year in the season opener, but it took the Jags double overtime to accomplish the feat that time.
Denney didn't nab his first win Friday against a team that finished third in last year's state tournament (18-1-2). But he was pleased with Tonganoxie's performance on Mill Valley's new soccer complex off Monticello Road.
"Our defense is really tough," Denney said. "Derek Sparks and Kirk Rodell, those guys played really well together.
"Even our offense played well. We got our chances -- we were just a step behind or inches away."
Defensively, senior goalie Luke Brown kept the Jaguars at bay for most of the game, making more than 15 saves.
"He had to earn his keep," Denney said.
Denney said fatigue became an issue for his team. While Mill Valley steadily substituted players, Tonganoxie had players on the turf longer.
The Chieftains had their home opener Tuesday, but results weren't available at press time. Tonganoxie will be at home again Thursday against Basehor-Linwood. Junior varsity will begin at 4:30 p.m., while varsity should start at 6 p.m.
Denney is hopeful that the Chieftains will correct some of their first-game mistakes in these upcoming matches.
"I think our midfield needs a little work and just work out a few marking things," Denney said. "It's not like we need a complete overhaul."