by Michael Smith
The Grain Valley Boys soccer team has been one that has focused on defense and low scoring games in the past couple of years and at near the beginning of the season.
In Wednesday’s contest against William Chrisman, the Eagles showed they had some offensive firepower by creating several opportunities, but they struggled to finish in a 2-1 loss at home.
“In the last four to five games, we haven’t been lacking in opportunities,” Grain Valley head coach Brett Lewis said. “It’s just we knew coming into tonight, we were playing a really good team and it would come down to who could finish their opportunities.
“I think we had more shots on goal. We created more chances. They didn’t. But they buried their chances, and we did not.”
Grain Valley has averaged 3.5 goals per contest in their last 10 games. Lately, the Eagles have been better at creating chances and creating offense on the opponent’s third of the field.
“We have been working on things in practice to help us create more opportunities in the opponent’s third of the field,” Lewis said. “We want to get our outsides and get guys running through in the middle of the field. We are able to be more dynamic and we’re tougher to defend now.”
Grain Valley’s lone goal came in the first half when Carter Compton sent a centering pass to his twin brother Kade in the penalty box as the latter buried the shot in the box. The brothers have been a huge part of Grain Valley’s resurgence on offense.
“There have been several goals in the past four or five games where it’s Carter to Kade or Kade to Carter,” Lewis said. “They’re dynamic and they work their tails off.”
Chrisman sophomore Adrian Cisneros scored Chrisman’s goal in the first half when he buried a shot inside the Eagles penalty box after receiving a pass from junior Mitchell Cory.
Then a mistake in the middle of the field led to the Chrisman counterattack and freshman Trevor Jolley punching a shot inside the right post from the left side that made it 2-1.
It was the giveaway in the middle of the field that Lewis pointed out was the turning point.
“We had a really bad giveaway that led to a counterattack in the middle of the field and he goes and buries it on the lower right,” Grain Valley coach Brett Lewis said of Jolley’s goal.
”Our guy had as good six or seven feet of space and had a bad first touch. If you do that against a good team, they will punish you.”
Grain Valley and Chrisman were about equal in time of possession and the Eagles had four shots on goal that were all stopped by Bears goalkeeper Javier Ortiz-Merino.
“We know we will probably see them again in districts,” Lewis said of Chrisman. “They are a good team that has speed up top. We know the margin for error is so low. We hope to learn from our mistakes and finish our opportunities.”