Defense holds strong for 80 minutes; BHS loses 1-0 in OT
For 80 minutes, Matt McCune was pleased with his team’s performance against a tough, class 5A opponent in Ottawa.
It was those next four minutes — in overtime — that one miscue doomed the Baldwin High School soccer team. The Bulldogs fell to the Cyclones 1-0 in the extra period Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve been struggling to put two halves together, especially defensively and keeping our focus,” McCune said. “Tonight, we did that for 80 minutes. I guess now I have to preach do that for 85 or 90 minutes. We are still having troubles scoring goals.”
Baldwin had a single shot attempt in overtime but it was stopped by the Cyclones’ goalkeeper. Sophomore Sam Richards had a ball bounce his way near the goal, but a slightly miss-kicked ball was stopped.
About two minutes later, the Cyclones passed the ball to the middle of the field. One lucky bounce later, an Ottawa player drilled a shot through a few defenders and into the net — ending the game.
“The kick wasn’t lucky, but the bounce that preceded the kick was,” McCune said. “There’s nothing you can do about that, because that’s the game of soccer. You can play as well as we did for the entire game and then get a bounce like that, especially on this field. That’s just part of the game.”
The Bulldogs’ goalkeeper, junior Shelby Arnold, stopped many shots by Ottawa all game. Although he let the final one past him, his coach was still proud of his performance.
“Shelby played a great game,” McCune said. “We want to pack it in defensively and let opponents shoot from a distance, because Shelby is good at stopping those. When the ball gets inside, he has a few problems that we’re working on. Casey did a great job tonight and Colin Busby was amazing, too.”
In fact, he was thrilled with the entire defensive effort Tuesday. One of his goals is shutting out an opponent and his Bulldogs nearly succeeded against Ottawa.
“Our defense played great,” McCune said. “They played smart for 80 minutes, which is what we wanted.”
Although the Bulldogs lost the contest, senior Nick Barkley was proud of how the team played against a tough opponent.
“It was a tough loss,” Barkley said. “We’ve had trouble keeping intensity and playing a full game. Tonight we came out with a lot of intensity and held them until overtime. But we still need to work on passing and scoring.”
Baldwin didn’t come out as intensely last Thursday at Paola. BHS fell behind early in the contest and never mounted a comeback as it lost 3-0.
“That was one of those games where we didn’t want to play in the first half,” McCune said. “They scored three goals in about 15 minutes. At halftime, we had a little talk and we played a bit better.”
He blamed himself for the loss and said he is still trying new people at new positions in his first year as the BHS coach.
“I’m still experimenting with this team,” McCune said. “I’m throwing players in different positions and seeing what’s going to work. I’m also talking to them and seeing what they think is working.”
The Bulldogs have a tough week ahead of them. They will play at Louisburg today, at Topeka Hayden on Monday and at Gardner-Edgerton on Tuesday.