Proof positive for Tonganoxie High soccer as team ties nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas
Tonganoxie High has won big and, as of late, rallied for victory on its way to an unbeaten season so far.
All of that was tested Saturday when St. Thomas Aquinas came to town.
The Overland Park private school, after all, is ranked in the Top 50 teams in the nation and Top 5 in the Midwest.
The Saints also have a rich history. Tonganoxie has been no slouch over the years, but STA won eight straight Class 5A state titles from 2003-10. The program won another two titles with back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014.
THS, meanwhile, has one state championship match to its history’s credit.
All of that didn’t matter on Saturday.
Tonganoxie and Aquinas were deadlocked, 2-2, when the game was delayed because of inclement weather. It was then called and determined to be a tie in the record book.
Coach Jon Orndorff summed up his team’s reaction in two words.
“Really excited,” Orndorff said. “Principal (Mark) Farrar came into the locker room to announce they were calling it due to lightning.
“The boys erupted with cheering. To go against the No. 43 ranked team in the nation and to go toe-to-toe with them was huge for the boys and they believe they can play with anyone and come out with the win.”
Jens Ahlen and Chandler Caldwell scored Tonganoxie’s goals against the Saints.
Tonganoxie now is 7-0-1 on the season. The Chieftains dropped Turner, 4-3, on Sept. 12 and then came from behind and defeated Piper, 2-1, on Thursday. THS followed the STA draw with a 6-1 victory Monday at Eudora.
Isaiah Frese and Caldwell each scored two goals against Turner, while Gage Somer and Ahlen put the Chieftains on the board against Piper.
Bowan Jones, Zeb Huseman, Allen (2) and Frese (2) all scored for THS in the rout.
Defensively, Wyatt Martin had three saves for the Chieftains against the Cardinals.
The Chieftains couldn’t be in much better shape at the halfway point of the regular season.
And, the team gets to play home games at his old home the rest of the season, weather permitting.
THS is back at Chieftain Park with a Thursday match against St. Mary’s Academy.
The team has been playing home games at the high school field, though historically has played at Chieftain Park.
The grass has been rehabbed in the last year and wasn’t going to be available for home games.
But a handful of THS seniors asked the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission board to reconsider.
The team will play home matches there on a game-by-game basis, depending on the condition of the field after matches. If Tonganoxie has had rain or a chance of rain for a game, the home match likely will need to be moved back to the high school field.
As of Tuesday, the team was preparing for a match at Chieftain Park.
The squad then plays Friday in Shawnee against Maranatha Christian Academy.
The match marks a meeting of Orndorff with his former team. An MCA graduate and soccer standout himself in high school, had been coaching the MCA boys and girls teams before taking the Tonganoxie job in the offseason.
From there, the team is on the road Tuesday at Lousiburg and then back home Sept. 28 against Junction City.
On Oct. 2, THS has another KVL match, this time against Lansing on the road. The team then plays Oct. 5 in Kansas City, Kan. against Bishop Ward for another KVL match and then Oct. 9 in Atchison against Maur Hill Prep.
The regular season ends Oct. 19 with a home finale against Kansas City Christian.
Open Cup time
Tonganoxie isn’t the only soccer team having a strong season.
Sporting Kansas City currently is in third place in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. SKC is 11-6-11. The team again has a sparkling record at home, as the team is 9-0-5 at Children’s Mercy Park, but 2-6-6 on the road.
Vancouver leads the Western Conference with a 13-9-6 record. Portland is second at 12-10-8. Vancouver has 45 points on the season, while Portland, SKC and Seattle are right behind with 44 each.
Toronto leads the Eastern Conference with 62 points and an 18-3-8 record.
Sporting Kansas City also competes today for the Open Cup against Red Bull New York. The match starts at 8 p.m.today at Children’s Mercy Park.
The match can be seen on ESPN2.