THS soccer survives in regional opener
Chieftains tie school record with 13th win
THS 3, EHS 2
First half scoring
Kelly Latshaw (EUD), 35:48
Matt Saathoff (TON), 31:05 (John Lean assist)
Zack Tallent (TON), 22:13
Second half scoring
Saathoff (TON), 26:00 (Asher Huseman assist)
Emma Beck (EUD), :46
The last time Tonganoxie played host to Eudora on the soccer field, the match was over almost as soon as it started. The same couldn't be said when the Cardinals paid a visit for Tuesday's regional meeting, but fortunately for the Chieftains, the end result was still the same.
Second-seeded THS (13-3-1) overcame a sluggish performance in a 3-2 win at the high school soccer complex. With the win, the team advances to Friday's regional final against Basehor-Linwood.
The No. 11 Cardinals (4-14), a team the Chieftains blanked, 10-0, on Sept. 24, drew first blood when Kelly Latshaw found the net less than five minutes into the first half. THS struggled to create scoring opportunities — thanks in large part to Eudora's defensive effort against forwards Asher Huseman and Matt Saathoff — but Saathoff managed to score on an assist from John Lean with 31:05 left in the period.
Zack Tallent put the Chieftains on top when he scored on a free kick less than 10 minutes later. Cardinal goalkeeper Carl Long seemingly corralled the shot attempt, but the ball went off his hands and into the net.
THS tightened up on defense and took the 2-1 advantage into the break.
"I think we came in expecting a little bit more, but I've got to give it to Eudora and their coach (Erryn Kindle)," coach Brian Kroll said. "That was a very well-strategized game. He needed to take away my two scoring threats, and that's what he did. That forced us to beat them otherwise."
Saathoff scored again in the second half when Conner Kietzmann fired a corner kick toward the goal. Huseman got the first touch and chipped the ball to Saathoff, who got it by Long for his 25th goal of the season.
Eudora refused to go down without a fight and cut the deficit in half when Emma Beck scored with 46 seconds left. Beck got past the defense again with time winding down, but was called offsides as the clock hit zero.
The Chieftains' 13th win of the season ties the school record originally set by the 1997 team (13-4-2). A win Friday against Basehor-Linwood would not only break the record, but would also guarantee the team a spot in next week's state quarterfinals.
However, according to Kroll, the Chieftains will have to turn in a much better effort if they want to keep their season alive.
"They need to realize that they are fighting for survival," he said. "Unfortunately, what we saw in the first half was exactly how practice went (Monday). I told them straight up, 'how you practice is how you play.' That's exactly what happened. It was awful.They need to figure it our or we're done. Regardless who we face, we won't come out of it."
The No. 8 Bobcats (8-8-1) reached the regional final with a 1-0 win Tuesday against No. 5 Sumner Academy. The Chieftains handed BLHS a 2-1 defeat on Aug. 30 in a game that included three player ejections and numerous fan ejections.
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