Tonganoxie High boys soccer pitches 6-0 shutout in home opener
Tonganoxie High boys soccer players put on a pretty good show in front of their home crowd in the first match of the season at Beatty Field on Thursday.
The Chieftains scored in waves in both halves on their way to a 6-0 shutout against Maur Hill Mount Academy.
THS scored about 14 minutes into match on a Daniel Zesati close-range shot before getting another goal when sophomore Aiden Van Middlesworth connected for the Chieftains’ second goal with 19:46 left in the half on an assist from Zesati, a senior. About a minute later (18:44), Zesati scored a second goal.
“We actually had some of the best off-ball movement I’ve seen,” THS coach Michael Barnes said after the match. “We changed up the formation.”
Tonganoxie took a 3-0 lead into halftime and picked up from there in the second half.
Van Middlesworth got his second goal of the night with 23:24 left in the second half before Zesati completed a hat trick with a third goal a little more than 3 minutes later (20:16).
With 15:50 left in the game, Zesati tacked on a fourth goal.
Barnes explained that THS used more of an attacking formation instead of a holding formation on Thursday, a move that worked pretty well. THS moved the ball around effectively throughout the match against the Junior Ravens.
That’s really my style,” Barnes said. “Attack, press, attack, press.”
Junior Derick Barnes, junior Brenan Kuzmic, Van Middlesworth and Zesati all had assists against MHMA. Tonganoxie had 21 shots and 21 shots and eight shots on goal. THS sophomore goalie Jackson McWilliams had for saves against the Junior Ravens.
Tonganoxie moved to 2-1 with the victory against MHMA (0-2).
THS suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday when the Chieftains fell to five-time defending state champion Bishop Miege in Roeland Park.
Tonganoxie fell behind early to Miege, as the Stags scored three goals in the first 18 minutes, two on corner kicks and a third when THS was in the wrong defensive alignment, according to Barnes.
But the rest of the game, Tonganoxie hunkered down and didn’t allow another goal, falling 3-0 to Miege (2-0).
McWilliams had 15 saves against Bishop Miege.
THS had four shots against the Stags from sophomore Gavin Shupe, Kuzmic and Zesati (2) and three shots on goal, two from Zesati and one from Shupe, who also had a yellow card.
Barnes said he’s learned from watching his team that the squad plays with ample amounts of heart and strong work ethic.
“They didn’t let up, Barnes said, noting that they did everything asked of them while making slight adjustments. “They just continued to grind.”
That experience should help the Chieftains if they happen to meet the Stags again in the postseason, which has been the case the past two seasons.
After an early parochial portion of the schedule (Kansas City Christian, Bishop Miege and Maur Hill Mount Academy), Tonganoxie takes on its first Frontier League foe Tuesday when Spring Hill comes to town. The Broncos are 2-0 overall and 1-0 in league play. The match starts at 6 p.m.