Back to the pitch for Tonganoxie High soccer
The Tonganoxie High boys’ soccer team held a 2-0 lead over Kansas City Christian at halftime in the first round of the 2015 4-1A playoffs and it didn’t appear their season was in any immediate danger of ending.
However, Kansas City Christian benefited from a no-call on their first goal and it was all down hill from there for Tonganoxie, whose season ended with a 3-2 defeat.
“That got inside my kids’ heads,” head coach Brian Kroll said, “and they never rebounded.”
The Chieftains’ season started Tuesday and it can’t come soon enough for Kroll and his team. Even though Tonganoxie ended last season 12-5, its first round loss to a 9-8 Kansas City Christian team was a tough pill to swallow.
“They are hungry, which is why they have really come into this season ready to go,” Kroll said of his team. “They want to make up for that. We actually picked up Kansas City Christian on our schedule this year so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when we play them.”
Not only are the Chieftains hungry to right the wrongs of last season, but also Kroll insists his team will be better in the upcoming season. Replacing forward Tyler Novotney and goalie Alex Kroll — who were named to the Kansas Soccer Coaches Association all-state soccer team — along with four other seniors won’t be easy.
But Kroll believes he has a core of young guys who are more than capable to step up and seize the opportunity.
“I wouldn’t say they’re more talented,” Kroll said of his team. “This group has been together for a very long time. They’re no longer sophomores, they’re juniors. The seniors that I have are really good seniors for bringing those guys up to speed quickly.”
Kroll said that senior Logan Williams is the unquestioned leader and captain of the team. Williams was named to the second team Kansas Soccer Coaches Association all-state soccer team last year.
Along with being the Chieftains most skilled player, Williams will also play a major role in the transition to a new formation.
The Chieftains have run the same formation for years, but Kroll has decided to put in a different formation.
Having Williams as the coach on the field should make that transition easier. Kroll says that he will run everything by Williams and allow him to make changes if the game plan isn’t working.
“We finally have a group of kids capable of taking it (the formation) where I want to go,” Kroll said. “They’re still figuring out this new formation, how it’s supposed to run and all of that. I’m very confident with the way this is going to play out.”
Tonganoxie opened the season Tuesday after press time at Bonner Springs. The team was supposed to open the season this past Friday, but the game at Baldwin was canceled. The squad also plays Thursday at Basehor-Linwood.