THS soccer drops game to Basehor-Linwood
The Tonganoxie High soccer team remained winless after Thursday's game at Basehor, despite an inspired performance by defender Alex Nowasell.
The Chieftains lost to Basehor-Linwood, 4-0, and fell to 0-3 on the season.
After games against league runners-up Mill Valley and Bonner Springs, things barely got easier against a BLHS team that returned nine starters from last season and was playing its first home game. Clearly the Kaw Valley League schedulers didn't give the Chieftains many "warm-up" games in the early season.
"It's a bear, it's rough," Tonganoxie coach Ken Lott said of the early stretch against league title contenders. "And we've got (defending KVL champs) Lansing next. Sometimes the schedule falls just like you like it, and sometimes, not at all."
The Chieftains' best chance for a victory in their first four games might have been against the Bobcats, and they played as though they were hungry for it. Unfortunately for Tonganoxie, Basehor-Linwood's all-state forward Austin Knipp was coming off a rare goalless game against Mill Valley and was determined to make up for it. The senior notched two rebound goals in the first 10 minutes, leaving Tonganoxie a big hole out of which to dig.
The Chieftains settled into a better rhythm after that, though, and were able to get a quality scoring opportunity in the 18th minute. Senior Jake Poterbin found junior Josh Nowasell at the top of the box with a nifty pass, but Nowasell's shot was saved by BLHS goalie Matt Murrell.
Tonganoxie didn't get many scoring opportunities after that in the first half, but did hold the score at 2-0. The Chieftain defense, led by Alex Nowasell, won more than its share of 50/50 balls, and made sure that the ball was played in the middle third of the field, rather than the danger zone, for most of the half. The senior Nowasell was the man of the match for the Chieftains, roaming from one side of the field to the other and wresting possession from the Bobcats again and again.
"Alex, he's basically the field general," Lott said. "He's the captain and everyone bases their play on what he does. When he's aggressive, we're aggressive."
The Chieftains were even more aggressive in the second half, getting the first shot after the break. Jamison Bloomer made a quick move down the left sideline to free himself of the BLHS defense. The sophomore got an uncontested shot, but it was from a tough angle, and went off the left post. Poterbin then got the closest of any Chieftain to a goal in the 58th minute when he fired a shot to the lower-right corner that Murrell stopped with a diving save.
The game went out of reach shortly after that, with Basehor adding two more goals. Still the Chieftains battled until the final seconds, when Bloomer sped free for another breakaway and took a shot that glanced off the crossbar, agonizingly close to breaking the shutout.
"I liked the effort a little better," Lott said of the progress his team made in the Basehor game compared to the first two losses of the season. "We've worked on a lot of stuff in practice and we're starting to grasp it. We're just not there yet."