Chieftains soccer breaks OT drought
Bartholomew scores in 98th minute
The past season-plus under coach Brian Kroll, the Tonganoxie High boys soccer team had seen its fair share of overtime matches.
The Chieftains had only experienced losses and a tie in those scenarios until Wednesday.
Finally, in the 98th minute against Piper, THS won in double overtime, 1-0, when senior Tyler Bartholomew stole the ball from a Pirates defender and placed a shot over the goalkeeper for the victory.
Said second-year coach Kroll: “That’s a new thing for us.”
Tonganoxie was 0-3-1 in overtime matches under Kroll before Wednesday’s win. Those previous outcomes had established an unfriendly relationship between Bartholomew and matches decided in OT.
“I don’t like playing in them,” the senior captain said, “but I like winning them.”
The Chieftains (3-3-1 after losing, 3-0, Tuesday at Turner) got a break on the winning play at home. As Kroll watched from behind the action on the sideline, he had no idea sophomore Evan Stilgenbauer’s pass would end up in Bartholomew’s possession.
“I thought it was going to be another ball where it was sent forward and they (Piper) were going to win possession of it,” Kroll said. “It was a bad touch, Ty fought for it and it broke through to him. It was a break, and you know what, I’ll take a break wherever I can get it.”
Bartholomew had set up along Piper’s line of defense and as the pass came in his direction, he said, the PHS goalkeeper called for the ball. In the meantime, Bartholomew went after it and took the ball away from the defender on his way to a one-on-one showdown with the keeper.
As he dribbled, Bartholomew admitted, he was afraid he would put too much on the chip shot.
“I just waited ’til the latest I could, sent it, jumped over the goalie,” Bartholomew said. “It happened so quick. It was awesome. It was fun.”
The winning score was appreciated, senior Cody Martin said, by all of the Chieftains, because it showed that the home team didn’t quit.
“That’s the best part of it, because you don’t want to give up in the last four minutes of the game,” Martin said.
According to the Tonganoxie coach, the play of the team, collectively, made the win possible.
“Overall, I thought the entire game we played excellent — defense, midfield, forwards, goalie,” Kroll said. “I don’t think there was a hole on our team.”
It was the third shutout of the year for junior THS goalkeeper Keaton Truesdell, who had three saves in overtime, and the defense. Bartholomew said the Chieftains’ defense did everything it had to and senior defender Marcus Titterington helped make that possible.
“Our defensive line, they’re set,” Bartholomew said. “They know exactly where to go, where to be, what to do. Marcus is really taking control of this. He’s setting the tone, setting the standard for us right now. He’s really keeping us alive in these games.”
Martin said the overtime victory should give the team a boost.
“It just feels great to know we can come out of an overtime with a win,” Martin said. “It just changes the whole mentality of the team.”
At 11:45 a.m. Saturday, THS plays host to Eudora.