BHS soccer team advances past opening round, falls to Independence
Baldwin High School's soccer team kept its season alive here Monday evening, but it didn’t last last long as it fell Tuesday to end the season.
The Bulldogs won their second game of the season at the most important time. They defeated Coffeyville 2-1 in the opening round of the regional tournament on Monday evening.
"This feels so great," junior Will Nitcher said. "We haven't won very much this season, so it's nice to finally pull through, especially when we need to keep winning to advance."
Baldwin held on to its 2-1 lead during the final 10 minutes to clinch the playoff victory.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said sophomore Caleb Michaels, who made the game-winning goal. “We’ve been in a lot of games, but we haven’t come through on top. Our defense had to step it up late and we got it done.”
Baldwin controlled much of the first half, as it had the wind at its back. BHS took several shots, but most rolled slowly to the Golden Tornados’ goalkeeper.
Caoch Matt McCune was surprised his team played well in the first half, because he said it usually prefers to play against the wind.
“For the first half, we were comfortable with the wind,” McCune said. “We don’t normally play well with the wind, but they were kind of a kick and run team. Those kind of teams like to have the wind at their back.”
The Bulldogs broke the scoreless tie late in the half. Nitcher stopped the ball in front of the Coffeyville goal, dribbled to the left and shot the ball in the bottom corner of the goal. Nitcher’s goal gave BHS a 1-0 lead with 3:14 remaining in the half.
“It was kind of cluttered, so I don’t really remember much,” Nitcher said. “I think there was a deflection, then it was on the ground and I one-touched it into the left corner. The goalie didn’t quite get to it. It was nice to finally get one.”
McCune was glad to see Nitcher get a goal, after he’d been struggling all season.
“Will’s shot wasn’t the hardest, but it was placed well,” he said. “I think the keeper was kind of shielded a bit, too. It was good for Will, because I know he’s been wanting a goal.”
For the next 20 minutes, Baldwin maintained a 1-0 lead. Then Coffeyville tied it up during the middle of the second half, switching the momentum of the contest.
“I was a little shell shocked when they scored on us, but we stepped up to the challenge and kept attacking,” McCune said. “Caleb struck it well and he put a lot on it. It’s good for Caleb, because we wanted to work through him all night long.”
Baldwin’s goalkeeper, senior Shelby Arnold, deflected several Coffeyville shots during the next 10 minutes. Then came Michael’s goal.
Baldwin's junior Chris Schrapel dribbled past several defenders late in the game. He passed to Michaels, who was all alone. Michaels drilled a kick to the opposite corner of the goal to give BHS a 2-1 lead.
“I just looked up and saw the goalie in the middle of the goal,” Michaels said. “I picked my place and hit it as hard as I could.”
Baldwin’s success in the postseason didn’t last too long as BHS lost at Independence 2-0 on Tuesday.
“We kind of wore down at the end of the first half,” McCune said. “We made a couple substitutions for guys who needed a break. Then they scored twice on us.”
Independence first scored on a penalty kick, after BHS was called for a penalty in its own box. A couple minutes later, the second goal was scored. BHS struggled offensively as fatigue from back-to-back game days set in.
“We fought hard and played hard all game,” McCune said. “The kids played hard and physical. It was the physical game we’ve played all year. I am proud of our kids’ effort tonight.”