Defending state champs blank Cats
It didn't take long for Justin West to give Kansas City Christian and De Soto fans alike a preview of what was to come for the next 75 minutes during Tuesday's 3-0 Panther win in De Soto.
The senior West used speed, quickness, ball control, footwork and aggression to post two goals and an assist as he and his teammates on the defending state champion 4A team shut out the Wildcats.
"He has very good speed and ball skills," De Soto coach Mike Murphy said of West after the game. "The trouble with them is, they all do an excellent job of passing the ball. They spread the offense and do a good job with their spacing. That opens up the lanes, and allows them to get the ball to the open man."
The Panthers also demonstrated they were more than just a one-player team.
In all, eight different Panthers took shots on goal, while De Soto attempted just five the entire game. KC Christian out-shot the Wildcats 33-5 on the night.
"In games like this when we get out-shot by a margin like that, we have to find a way to make it a one-goal game," Murphy said. "We have to either shut our opponent out or hold them to a single goal and then hope we get a break away or find someone wide open in front of the net."
West opened the scoring with just more than 35 minutes remaining in the first half, when he blasted a shot off a Wildcat defender from just outside of the box, and the ball ricocheted into the net.
Early in the second half, West took a throw in and made headway toward the goal. There he found senior Marcus Wright open in front of the net for a 2-0 lead with just less than 39 minutes left in the game.
West added an insurance goal with just less than six minutes remaining when he deflected a shot off two Wildcat defenders, making the score 3-0.
Despite the shutout loss, Murphy said he saw some positives in the game, such as his team's improving ability to get into defensive position.
"But we still need to make sure we mark up the other team's offensive players better and spread out our offense," Murphy said. "We'll need to straighten out these areas by the time Maranatha rolls around."
Murphy added that he'd like the team to be where it needs to be both mentally and physically for the post-season and by the time the Maranatha game rolls around in late October.
The physical problems the Wildcats are having, such as ball skills, are issues that Murphy said would take care of themselves just by playing games.
But he stressed the importance of addressing the mental lapses and correcting them before the post season play started.
"There is a system in place for correcting the physical mistakes we are making," Murphy said. "But we don't have that system in place to correct our mental errors. We just have to work on them and correct them."
The Wildcats are home Thursday against Bonner Springs. Varsity action is set to begin at 6 p.m.