Slower, possession game leads to BHS soccer shutout against Panthers
Zac Leeker wasn't about to let a perfect opportunity pass him by, even if he had just a split-second to think about it.
All he wanted for three years was a varsity soccer goal. He came close several times, but it never happened — until Tuesday. The Baldwin High School tapped the ball into a wide-open net, scoring his first-ever varsity goal and locking up the Bulldogs' first victory of the season Tuesday.
“It felt great to be honest,” Leeker said. “I've been waiting for that forever. It's great to finally have it.”
Although he's credited for the goal, Leeker was quick to give credit to his teammate, senior Caleb Michels, who recorded the assist.
“On paper, I got the goal,” Leeker said. “But Michels made an amazing cut through the defense. He passed a perfectly placed ball right past the keeper. All I had to do was tap it in. I give the credit to him.”
Michels pass rolled less than a foot in front of Paola's goalkeeper, who dove for the ball. The pass fell into Leeker's lap. He finished the play and scored the final goal with eight minutes remaining in the Frontier League contest.
Leeker's goal was the third for Baldwin in the game. The Bulldogs (1-0-1) defeated the Panthers 3-0 in their opening league contest of the season.
“It was good to get our first win at home,” coach Mark Joslyn said. “I thought we deserved the win. We came out and scored within the first minute. After the goal, we pinned (Paola) down and played much better rhythm and possession soccer than we did against Tonganoxie. I was very pleased with that.”
BHS players were also thrilled with the victory.
“It feels great,” Leeker said. “It's something we've been ready for since the season started. We played well at Tonganoxie and a tie isn't a loss. We were hoping for a win, but in the end, we just moved on to the next game. We showed up today and played well.”
The Bulldogs' coach was thrilled his team was able to score three goals in its second game of the season, especially since it struggled to score in the opening game Friday.
“It was nice to get three in-play goals here today,” Joslyn said. “They happened in different ways with different people. We spread them out with different guys.”
Baldwin opened the game with a quick goal. Senior Clint Chapman sent a pass across the field to sophomore Russell Cloon, who scored during the opening two minutes.
Chapman came back to score the Bulldogs' second goal. Senior Louis Joslyn booted a free kick and Chapman headed the ball into the net.
“It was a spectacular goal,” M. Joslyn said. “It was one of those goals that was fun to watch.”
L. Joslyn said the Bulldogs were more patient offensively Tuesday than they were Friday in the opening game.
“We were calmer today,” L. Joslyn said. “On Friday, we just wanted to go forward and right at the goal. Today, we took our time and had more possession. We tired out our opponent and got more goals.”
On Friday, the Bulldogs played at Tonganoxie and tied the Chieftains 1-1. The Bulldogs fell behind 1-0 during the opening minutes, but L. Joslyn tied the game on a penalty kick. Since allowing the first goal to the Chieftains, Baldwin has kept its opponents scoreless in nearly 160 minutes.
“That was kind of a quirky goal, too,” Joslyn said. “I think we've played well defensively. We have things to work on, but our goalkeepers have played well.”
Baldwin will host Spring Hill at 4 p.m. today and De Soto at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Spring Hill beat Baldwin in overtime to win the regional last fall.
“Hopefully, there is going to be a lot of people coming out to watch the game,” L. Joslyn said. “We're looking forward to the game. It should be fun.”