Wildcat soccer team off to quick start
Immaculata, Piper vanquished in season’s first week
De Soto passed its first real test of the season Friday when it won a 3-1 decision at conference rival Immaculata.
But it wasn't the Raiders who presented the challenge. It was playing without senior all-conference forward Jesse Smith, who was presented a red card during last season's season ending loss to Mill Valley in the 4A regionals.
In the absence of Smith, senior Jordan Hevel took over the scoring duties by chalking up two second-half scores.
The two scores extended De Soto's 1-0 halftime advantage to an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
Hevel opened second-half scoring when he was tripped from behind and was awarded the penalty kick.
"We really don't mind seeing him take that shot, because he has such a great set shot," Murphy said. "He practices a lot out in his back yard with a kickback net. It's really made a difference for him."
Hevel scored the second goal of the final half when center midfielder Kyle Bray, Smith's replacement at forward, was fouled just outside the box. The kick somehow hooked around the wall and found the back of the net.
"I'm not sure how the ball made it into the net, but it did," Murphy said, "I remember their coach asking his players why they didn't wall off the kick. And they said, 'We did.'"
Junior Spike Delepena opened the Wildcat scoring for the season when he deflected a Havel shot off a Raider defender and into the net.
Overall, Murphy liked what he saw from his team.
"We did a great job passing the ball tonight, I thought," Murphy said. "I also thought we did a good job moving with the ball. And our stoppers did a nice job of getting stops and getting the ball back to the offense."
Murphy also praised the play of goalkeeper Sean Karashin, who had his hands full of shots from the Raider's all leaguer Brady Gant.
"As soon as we'd go to the ball, he'd go around us," Murphy said. "They have a few solid players, but Gant made us look bad at times."
Against Piper Tuesday, the Wildcats outshot the Pirates 15-4 in the first half as they built a 3-1 lead. But they had to hold on for the 3-2 win as Piper turned its offense up a notch in the second half.
The Wildcats took the first 10 shots en route to a 1-0 advantage with 23 minutes left in the opening half. The first goal was scored when Bryan Buser laid a pass into Bray, who was in front of the goal.
Ten minutes later, Piper needed just one shot to tie the score when Taron Davis broke free from the Wildcat defense and burned Karashin one-on-one with a shot to the left corner of the net.
De Soto took the lead for good when Smith strutted his stuff just minutes later. The senior moved the ball around four defenders on his way to the goal that gave the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage.
Smith nearly pulled the trick again with almost five minutes left before intermission, but this time his shot was blocked. Unfortunately for Piper, Bray was there for the put-back and a 3-1 Wildcat lead.
Piper scored the only goal of the second half when William Verbanic ripped a set shot off the cross bar. Karashin tried to knock the ball over the net, but he was too far under the bar.
The Pirates out-Â°shot De Soto 9-8 in the second half, forcing Karashin to make saves in the final 40 minutes.
"I don't really care what the score is as long as we play well," Murphy said. "But tonight it was like we had a three day weekend, and all we did was watch TV."