Archive for Wednesday, November 10, 2021

ENDING ON RIGHT FOOT: Tonganoxie High soccer takes 3rd at state with OT victory

Tonganoxie High boys soccer players celebrate a third-place finish at the 2021 Class 4-3-2-1A state soccer championships Oct. 6 at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.

Tonganoxie High boys soccer players celebrate a third-place finish at the 2021 Class 4-3-2-1A state soccer championships Oct. 6 at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.

November 10, 2021

Tonganoxie High boys soccer couldn’t have found a better way to end its state consolation match Saturday in Topeka.

Playing top-seeded Augusta, the Chieftains were in double overtime against the Orioles when senior Lukas Parizek was fouled in the box. THS was awarded a penalty kick, Parizek connected and the THS players erupted in glee.

Daniel Zesati, middle, yells in celebration with teammates Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, after the Tonganoxie High boys soccer team defeated Eudora, 2-0, in the state semifinals at Eudora District Stadium. The win gave THS its first state berth since 2012.

Daniel Zesati, middle, yells in celebration with teammates Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, after the Tonganoxie High boys soccer team defeated Eudora, 2-0, in the state semifinals at Eudora District Stadium. The win gave THS its first state berth since 2012.

The shot gave Tonganoxie a 3-2 victory and a third-place trophy in Class 4-3-2-1A.

“The boys like to have the dramatic around everything and keep us on our toes,” THS coach Mandi Duggan said Monday with a laugh. “It sure makes for an exciting time. “I’m proud of them for digging deep in that game.”

Tonganoxie players definitely had to come back with some fire in Saturday’s consolation match. THS held with Wichita Trinity in the state semifinals the night before at Hummer Sports Complex, but Trinity kept Tonganoxie from scoring and advanced to the finals with a 3-0 victory.

“We didn’t play well at all,” Duggan said about Friday’s match. “It was really frustrating. We told them (Saturday) ‘yesterday’s game is out of your control. Today, you control what you can with this game.”

Tonganoxie came out aggressive Saturday, drawing first blood against Augusta with 20:30 left in the first half. Parizek found sophomore Gavin Shupe across the goal and Shupe was able to put it in the net for the 1-0 lead.

THS would take the lead into intermission, but the Orioles found the net and the equalizer with 23:30 left in the second half. Moments later, Tonganoxie was called for a foul in the box and Augusta capitalized. Suddenly the Orioles had the 2-1 advantage with 20:06 left in regulation.

Tonganoxie High boys soccer players get some love from fellow students after winning a state semifinal match Tuesday at Eudora District Stadium.

Tonganoxie High boys soccer players get some love from fellow students after winning a state semifinal match Tuesday at Eudora District Stadium.

Tonganoxie had opportunities to tie the match, but the minutes kept ticking away.

And then came some Tonganoxie magic.

With just 3:23 left in regulation, senior Daniel Zesati got the ball to Parizek who nailed the shot. Tonganoxie tied it up with just a few minutes left in regulation.

“Luckily the boys didn’t give up,” Duggan said. “After we got that goal, the momentum completely shifted. We can do this.”

It would require a second overtime, but the Chieftains did in fact take care of business. The team earned its first third-place finish at state in its second appearance. THS finished as state runner-up in 2012.

The 2021 season turned out to be quite the ride for Tonganoxie.

THS opened the season at 5-2, but a four-match stretch without a win had the Chieftains at 5-5-1 on Oct. 4.

Later that month, head coach Michael Barnes resigned and former coach Jon Orndorff returned to help lead the team with Duggan. His first match back on the sidelines was Oct. 14.

Since sitting at .500 in early October, THS went 8-2, knocking off Eudora twice and Baldwin once in the process.

Tonganoxie High boys soccer players go wild after defeating Eudora in a state semifinal match Nov. 2 at Eudora District Stadium.

Tonganoxie High boys soccer players go wild after defeating Eudora in a state semifinal match Nov. 2 at Eudora District Stadium.

Tonganoxie finished the season at 13-7-1 and took home some solid hardware in the form of a team trophy and individual medals in the process.

For Orndorff, or Coach O, it was an unexpected extra chapter in his coaching career at THS.

Orndorff had coached the Chieftains for four years, but stepped down after the 2020 season with his family’s move to North Platte, Neb.

That’s about a 6-hour drive from Tonganoxie, but Orndorff was able to stay with in-laws as he rejoined the coaching staff for the final weeks of the season. His wife, Ashlee (Lohman), a Tonganoxie alum, was able to make the trek back this way for Friday night’s semifinal match.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Orndorff said. “Coming back and having to get used to the team really fast. “Having Mandi there to help and coach with her saved everything. She was great.”

Orndorff commended the team for bouncing back after the quick turnaround from Friday and then scoring with more than 3 minutes left in regulation.

“It showed their grit and how hard they worked this season,” he said.”I think our concentration and wanting to fight for each other and fight for the season … that’s the best last game they could give after Friday’s performance and redeem themselves.”

Duggan said Friday was frustrating because the team didn’t play up to its potential, but like Orndorff, she was proud of how the team responded Saturday and how they held themselves accountable.

“We kept telling them fourth place is not good enough, just not good enough,” she said.

The motivational words resonated and the Chieftains eventually came away from the Saturday match all smiles.

Tonganoxie’s journey through the playoffs was a pretty good one.

THS eventually got past Chanute in the regional semifinals and then defeated Baldwin, 1-0, in the regional finals after losing to the Bulldogs earlier in the season. It was then on to Eudora for the state quarterfinals Nov. 2.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment