by John Unrein
Despite spirited play in the second half, the Grain Valley Boys Soccer Team couldn’t erase Platte County’s first half lead and ended up dropping the home match 1-0. The visiting Pirates were undefeated heading into play against the Eagles on Tuesday, September 24th.
The first half witnessed the Pirates controlling possession of the ball for much of the first 40 minutes. Platte County’s lone goal came off the foot of Senior Christian Peterson thirteen minutes into the half at 27:18.
Further damage against the Eagles was limited by the strong goalkeeping of Bryant Madden. The senior would stop twelve of the thirteen shots on goal. Madden was also active in communicating the placement of the soccer ball and the opposition on the field to his teammates.
“I wanted to make sure that my team had support in the back and that I was consistent in trying to get the ball forward,” Madden said.
“I have a view of the pitch the whole time. As I see the field, I see plays and players moving and try to direct traffic to get us into position where we can defend and stop the ball with the intent of moving forward to score.”
The Eagles had eights shots on goal for the evening, with five of those attempts coming in the second half. Grain Valley was able to flip the script and control possession of the ball for much of the last 40 minutes.
This included a breakaway by Senior Forward Nate Booker who’s charge came up short with the ball ending up out of bounds and the subsequent corner kick resulting in an unsuccessful goal attempt.
Grain Valley would also have a penalty kick blocked with fifteen minutes left in the half. Senior Midfielder Jack Knust also got into the goalie’s box with thirty-three seconds left in the game. The contact that led to Knust ending up on the ground was ruled incidental, and the Eagles could not capitalize on the corner kick that followed as time would expire.
Eagles Boys Head Soccer Coach Tyler Nichol shared his thoughts on the play of his team.
“The goal we gave up tonight came from our own mistake. We had a soft moment in our backline and giftwrapped them a goal. Platte County is a good team and good teams make you pay for mistakes. They (the Pirates) really slowed the game down and it was hard to watch the first half. I don’t know if the ball was in bounds for longer then ten seconds at a time,” Nichol said.
“Our boys brought it in the second half and we just ran out of time. Ten more minutes played and I bet we tie the game. It goes back to not shooting ourselves in the foot the first twenty minutes of the game.”
Other bright spots for the Eagles included the play of Freshman Midfielder Austin Schmitt and Sophomore Midfielder Micah Siems. Both were instrumental in keeping control of the soccer ball through headers, nifty dribbling, and timely passing that set up offensive opportunities for their teammates.
“Austin plays for the six for us and directs traffic as a midfielder. As a true freshman for us he’s a starter. He’s quietly a leader in that he’s comfortable and confident on the ball. Micah came in tonight and contributed strongly as well,” Nichol said.
The Eagles will next face the Oak Grove Panthers at Oak Grove on September 30th at 7:00 pm.
Midfielder Austin Schmitt advances the ball downfield with a pass.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Midfielder Luis Gilardi attempts a penalty kick.
Photo credit: Valley News staff