Ottawa rout has coach thinking of post-season
De Soto has been making a habit in recent years of playing its best soccer going into post-season play. And this year is no different.
The Wildcats peaked last season and made it all the way to the state championship game. They appear to be doing it again this season.
De Soto played what may have been its best game of the year Monday in a 5-1 win over 5A Frontier League foe Ottawa. And with the first round of the regionals less than two weeks away, the Wildcats couldn't have picked a better time to hit their stride.
"As a whole, this is the best game the team has played," De Soto coach Mike Murphy said. "If we can continue to play like this, we will be ready for the playoffs."
Although the score was tied 0-0 at halftime, Murphy said his team played pretty well in the opening half.
"We told them to keep doing what they were doing," Murphy said of his halftime instructions.
A soaking rain fell throughout the game, making it difficult for players to move toward the ball. So the Wildcat coaching staff talked a little at halftime about passing the ball directly to the feet of their teammates.
"We knew they wouldn't be able to do much with the ball otherwise," Murphy said. "They followed our instruction and really made it look easy."
Going into the game, the Wildcats knew they needed a victory to secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs. With the four-goal triumph De Soto would still be chosen to be a host over Louisburg, a team that has knocked off the Wildcats twice this year, because they would have fewer losses.
But in order to succeed in that area, the Wildcats knew they still had to beat Eudora in a make-up game Friday and get the win Monday.
"We called them out a little bit today," Murphy said of his players. "And they responded."
Zach Bader opened scoring for the Wildcats when he connected from out on the right wing. Bader had two defensive players closing in on him with no room to roam, so he followed some advice.
"We knew he really didn't have any other option," Murphy said. "So we hollered, 'Shoot it, shoot it.' At first I thought the ball was going to go over the goal. But then it started bending downward and made it over the keeper's head."
Zach England rattled a goal home from in front of the goal after the ball deflected off of a defender, bringing De Soto's point total to two.
Kyle Bray made it 3-0 when he scored the first of his two break-away goals. Jordan Hevel assisted Bray on both his goals as well as a couple of others.
Spike Delapena then scored on a cross from Hevel before Bray could score his second goal. Adam Seger scored Ottawa's lone goal of the game.
The Wildcats, 9-5, are scheduled to play again at 4 p.m. Monday at Paola.