Chieftains soccer learns from road defeat
THS ‘seeing spurts’ of potential
A 4-1 Thursday loss at De Soto was the Tonganoxie High girls soccer team’s fourth setback in five matches, but the Chieftains saw it as a potential breakthrough moment in the season.
That’s because Tonganoxie kept DHS from scoring in the final 40 minutes after addressing issues at halftime.
Goalkeeper Alex Bartels said the team needed the break, when she and fellow co-captains Sydney Bennett and Carson Simmons, as well as coach Ken Lott, went over all the breakdowns and got them fixed.
Bartels said Tonganoxie, at times, looks better than its record.
“When we finally decide to care we’re playing better than that,” she said. “The first half, nobody was in the game yet.”
Bartels said THS played with a purpose after the halftime talk.
“Everyone needed to have that time to take a step back and look at how we were playing and see that it wasn’t the best that we could do,” she said.
Offensively, the Chieftains produced some solid chances. Lauren Williams scored a goal on one of her three good looks and her sister, sophomore Sarah Williams, also put a strong shot on goal.
The real issues, Simmons said, were the team’s lack of communication and being out of a position, as a whole unit, on defense.
“The second half, we worked on that. We got a lot better,” Simmons said, focusing on the absence of second-half goals for DHS. “That shows how much stronger our defense got from halftime. We were a lot more aggressive.”
Tonganoxie’s progress, junior Kelsey Rodell suggested, may have been stalled by the number of indoor practices caused by inclement weather in the pre-season.
“We’re learning how to play together,” she said.
Simmons said a number of issues can be resolved if the players enter each match mentally prepared, and Bartels agreed.
“Our pre-game mental state needs to be more in the right place,” the junior goalkeeper said. “We can’t wait to be thinking about playing until they blow the whistle.”
Simmons said that will allow them to get a feel for things early and make adjustments on the fly when it’s necessary.
“In the first half we need to see ourselves what we’re doing on the field,” Simmons said, emphasizing waiting until halftime isn’t an option.
Although the Chieftains lost four of their first five matches, they remain hopeful because they had played just one home match entering Tuesday’s home contest against Bishop Ward. Plus, one of their losses was in overtime and three were to quality opponents.
“I’m looking at it as we’ve got the worst part of our schedule out of the way,” Bartels said.
The junior co-captain thinks things could turn around for Tonganoxie if the team learns from its loss at De Soto.
“We’re seeing spurts of the potential that we could meet,” Bartels said, “but we’ve got to get to where it’s consistent if we want our record to reflect it.”
The Tonganoxie High soccer team lost 5-2 at Piper on Monday. Ashley Kotowske scored both goals as the Chieftains’ record fell to 1-5 for the season.