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Game of the Week: Boys Soccer falls to Olathe South 3-2

Trying not to let his opponent steal the ball from him, sophomore Zach Geortzen takes the ball further down the field.

Katy Coats

Trying not to let his opponent steal the ball from him, sophomore Zach Geortzen takes the ball further down the field. "Everyone is staying focused and prepared to make it to the state final," said Geortzen. There are several more games that will determine if they get to compete in the state final.

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In his first game of high school soccer since returning from the Sporting KC Youth Academy, senior Rowan Laufer scored two goals, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough for the Firebirds to win. In the first game of the season, the Firebirds boys soccer team was defeated 3-2 by Olathe South on Tuesday.

The Firebirds were aware going into the game that the Falcons were a quality team, ranked among the top three in Kansas by many publications. But the boys were not intimidated or particularly impressed.

“There were moments for sure, but overall they were just putting it in the corner and having someone run into the box,” senior goalkeeper Will Davis said. “I figured they would be a little more in tune with their touches.”

The match got off to a fast start with two goals in the first eight minutes. The Falcons striked first, getting the ball past Davis.

Katy Coats
Trying not to let his opponent steal the ball from him, sophomore Zach Geortzen takes the ball further down the field. “Everyone is staying focused and prepared to make it to the state final”, says Geortzen. There are several more games that will determine if they get to compete in the state final.

“They gave me some good work all game, coming out of the box,” Davis said.

But just two minutes later, midfielder Rowan Laufer was able to draw a foul inside the box. Laufer easily made the penalty, knotting the score up at 1-1.

Davis was caught in a difficult one-on-one situation in the 22nd minute that South was able to capitalize on. Both teams’ defenses hunkered down for the rest of the half, playing with a quick pace and exchanging possession often, which ultimately lead to the Firebirds going into the half down 2-1.

Laufer drew another opportunity for a penalty just two minutes into the second half but was unable to convert—a missed opportunity that would later prove to be fatal.

In the 71st minute, senior forward Everett Waechter gave Laufer a solid pass in the box that he was able to score with, giving the Firebirds the coveted equalizing goal.

Katy Coats
Trying to prevent his opponent from scoring, senior Everett Waechter moves in front of the ball’s path. “It was a good step forward for the team”, says Waechter. Waechter plays as a defender and sometimes plays in the forward position.

“They all stepped up so I made a run off of the center back and got the ball back,” Waechter said. “From behind me I heard Rowan say ‘Center! Center! Center!’ I was right around the 18 so I put some back heel into it and Rowan finished it one on one.”

With nine minutes left, the Firebirds needed to make stops on defense.

In the 78th minute, South was awarded a free kick about 10 yards outside of the box, and a ball over the top was headed in the goal by the Falcons.  This gave them a 3-2 lead with only 90 seconds remaining in the match.

“It was first of all a [bad] call by the ref to give them the opportunity, but they played a ball over the top and it went right to about the [penalty kick] spot, which makes it a tough play for me,” Davis said. “I just got caught in the middle and they found the corner.”

Free State was unable to find the goal again in the last portion of the game, and the Firebirds were defeated 3-2.

Although the Firebirds lost the match, they ultimately proved they could keep up with one of the best teams in the state. It is worth noting that junior midfielder Pete Junge, a key returning varsity player from last season, was not available to play in the match.

“We had a lot of good things that we did at practice that we thought we could execute on the field, which we did,” Junior Ashton Owen said. “But we didn’t do it for the full 80 minutes.”

Katy Coats
Dribbling the ball down the field, junior Ashton Owen tries to get the ball as close as he can to the goal. “The whole game I was looking for a chance to score”, says Owen. He is one of the forward players.

After only two weeks of practice before this match, the boys got some valuable in-game experience which they can use for the rest of the season.

“We need to work on defending set pieces, and the other two goals came off the same mistake that we need to fix,” Waechter said. “Once we fix that, they wouldn’t have any opportunities until that last 3 minutes.”

 

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The School Newspaper of Lawrence Free State High School
Game of the Week: Boys Soccer falls to Olathe South 3-2