Chieftain soccer squeaks by Piper
THS soccer at Piper
The Chieftain soccer team trailed Piper by a goal at halftime, but came up with two scores in the second half for its sixth consecutive win.
THS 2, PHS 1
First half scoring
Jeremy Wilson (PIP), 9:16
Second half scoring
Matt Saathoff (TON), 21:07
Asher Huseman (TON), 3:33
Kansas City, Kan. Regardless of the day and regardless of the opponent, the Tonganoxie High soccer team has developed a knack for pulling out close games on the road in 2012. The Chieftains played their first road game in nearly two weeks Wednesday at Piper, and the end result was more of the same.
THS trailed 1-0 at the break, then came up with a pair of second-half goals for its sixth consecutive victory.
"I want to be positive, but this was an ugly game. We were fortunate to come out the victor on this," coach Brian Kroll said. "I've got to give it to Piper. They're a good team and they're obviously well-coached. We found someone who's just as physical as we are."
Playing in their second game in as many days, the Chieftains (6-1, 4-0 Kaw Valley League) struggled to keep the ball on Piper's side of the field in the first half. However, they got a golden opportunity midway through the second when senior Matt Saathoff crossed over a defender, leaving nobody but the goalkeeper between him and the net. Saathoff chipped the ball over the keeper, tying the game with 21:07 remaining.
Saathoff now has 11 goals this season and has scored in six straight games.
Senior goalkeeper Keaton Truesdell made a pair of athletic saves to keep the game tied midway through the half, including a diving stop at the top right corner of the goal with 15:50 left on the clock.
"I just wanted the win. I really did not want to let them score again," said Truesdell, who has allowed just five goals this season. "That first one hurt me."
The defensive struggle continued until sophomore Asher Huseman beat the defense and drilled a shot past the goalie with 3:33 remaining. THS didn't allow the Pirates to get off a clean shot attempt the rest of the way.
"I told them at halftime that we just had to go out there and play our game," Kroll said. "For whatever reason, we were passing the ball well, but we weren't filling the gaps and doing that good soccer stuff that we did (Tuesday) night."
Tonganoxie came out flat and allowed the Pirates to control possession of the ball for the majority of the first half. Both teams struggled to set up scoring opportunities early on, but PHS kept the ball near the Chieftain net for a good portion of the first 40 minutes.
Piper finally broke through when Jeremy Wilson found the back of the net with 9:16 left until halftime. That was all the offense either team could manage in the opening period.
THS won't play again until Monday when it plays host to Class 5A Mill Valley. The Chieftains suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Jaguars last season.