Smith puts kick in De Soto win
Jesse Smith is just as dangerous when he isn't shooting the ball as when he is.
The senior forward played his role of decoy perfectly when he passed the ball to a wide open Jordan Hevel on a direct kick after he was tripped late in Thursday's match at Piper.
Hevel then moved to his left and rifled a shot into the left corner of the goal, breaking a 1-1 tie in the 78th minute, giving the 6-3 Wildcats a 2-1 win over the Pirates.
"When I saw they left Hevel open to the left of the wall, I was saying to myself, 'Get him the ball, let him shoot it,'" De Soto coach Mike Murphy said. "Because Jesse was so close to the goal, they marked him. They then screwed up by leaving Jordan so wide open, especially since he has such a nice shot."
The contest wasn't all fun and games for De Soto. As has become habit for them this season, the Wildcats fell behind early in the first half.
Piper pushed the tempo early, and it paid off when Paul Losensky ripped a shot through the outstretched arms of diving Wildcat goal keeper Sean Karashin.
The shot ripped the net with 31 minutes and 43 seconds left in the first half and put the Wildcats in a familiar position.
"We're still breaking down too much on defense," Murphy said. "From the first goal on, we seem to play better defense. But we're not going to make the playoffs if we continue to have these early lapses."
Kyle Bray evened the score in the 36th minute when he discovered the ball bouncing around near the goal and finished it off on what Murphy called a garbage goal.
"He is so good at that," the coach said. "Sometimes he gets in a little too close, but he seems to have a knack for being at the right place at the right time."
Piper out-shot the Wildcats 20-18 and had a 13-7 shots on goal advantage in the final 40 minutes of the game.
Karashin had saves but also had a little help from his friends. Wildcat defenders deflected five Pirate shots for the game.
The defense was there Monday when the Wildcats defeated visiting Lansing 1-0. The only score came six-and-a-half minutes on a Smith kick.
"I thought we played well," Murphy said. "We missed some shots in the first five minutes and last 10, but overall I thought we played well.
"We're building. We're doing some of the things we need to do. Now all we have to do is put it all together."
De Soto puts its four-game winning streak on the line on what Murphy said was a very important game against Perry-Lecompton at 6 p.m. Thursday at De Soto.
"We didn't play well at all in the first Perry game, so I hope they are really looking forward to this rematch," Murphy said. "It's a big game for us."