Tonganoxie soccer misfires on rare chances
Scoring opportunities, let alone goals, can be hard to come by in soccer. Just ask the Tonganoxie High girls soccer team, which couldn't quite find the right timing to put a bulge in the old onion bag in a 1-0 loss to Spring Hill on Monday at Chieftain Park.
The Chieftains' defense was making things just as difficult for the opposition during most of the contest. THS goalkeeper Sarah Flaherty kept the Broncos scoreless for the first 58 minutes of the match and had an impressive save in the 43rd minute when she elevated, extended her right arm and pushed a Spring Hill shot attempt just over the crossbar by getting a couple of fingers on the ball.
Spring Hill scored the only goal of the match in the 59th minute and THS (4-4) spent the final 20-plus minutes searching for chances to even the score. Senior Cally Owsley said failing to do so was frustrating.
"Especially at the end when you're running out of time," she said.
As the Chieftains made moves to score, only to be stymied by defenders or the goalkeeper, the frustration grew, as did the anxiety, Owsley said, noting that she and other players may have been overly anxious when scoring chances presented themselves.
That appeared to be the case with about two minutes left when Lauren Williams played the ball into the box. Owsley and Alexa Moreno both made a run at the ball as it bounced a few yards in front of the goal, but neither was able to make a scoring play as the Spring Hill keeper fell on the ball.
THS coach Ken Lott lamented that scoring chances were few and far between in the match against a team the Chieftains defeated 2-1 earlier this season.
"We need to make them count because we don't get that many in a game like this," he said.
As Lott watched from the sideline he thought the cross into the box late in the match had a chance to lead to a tying goal, but he said his team was kind of "unlucky" that particular night and needed to overcome that with effort.
"You've just got to scrap and fight for the ball," Lott said, "and sometimes you get it and sometimes you don't."
Despite the setback, the Chieftains have rebounded well from a rough losing stretch a few weeks back when they lost three straight by a combined score of 19-0.
THS is 2-1 since then. Owsley said part of the reason for the skid was a slew of injuries, but she also attributed it to players being unproductive in practice and unmotivated before games. She said they have since remedied that, beginning with a win against Bonner Springs.
"We just got our confidence back," she said, admitting the team never should have lost it. "That was dumb that we got down on ourselves. We just needed to stay confident and it worked."
When the Chieftains are scoring, it is usually Moreno and Owsley putting the ball in the net. Owsley said they have different ways of being productive. While Owsley said she relies on anticipation, knowing where the ball will be and beating defenders to spots, she credited Moreno for her skills.
"She has really powerful kicks from the corners," Owsley said. "I think we work together well, knowing what the other is going to do."
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