Wildcats off to a good start
De Soto tops Kaws 2-1 in overtime play
Jordan Hevel wasted little time in proving his worth in the second half of Monday's 2-1 overtime win over Perry-Lecompton in De Soto.
The senior, who will be asked to carry the brunt of the scoring load this season, did just that by scoring two-second half goals after the team got off to a slow start.
Kaw scoring machine Ryan Guffey took advantage of a depleted Wildcat defense in the first half, scoring the visitor's lone goal. But Hevel took over in the second half.
"Boy did he step up," Wildcats soccer coach Mike Murphy said. "He's coming of age. Today Jordan felt the pressure of knowing that if he didn't score, we could lose the game."
Hevel tied the game early in the second frame when he took a ball from about 40 yards out and headed toward the goal.
In the midst of three Kaw defenders, Hevel dribbled around them, went to the goal and scored, tying the score 1-1.
Neither team could muster much offense after that until Hevel once again stepped up in overtime. After receiving the ball from Zach Bader, a determined Hevel drove to the goal for the winning score.
Despite the triumph, Murphy was disappointed with the slow start.
"We don't start well," Murphy said. "We never have -- especially on defense."
It also didn't help that senior Kyle Bray had to sit out the first 50 minutes of the contest after he was issued a red card during last fall's 4A state championship loss to Andover.
Bray also sat out the first 30 minutes of Friday's lightning-delayed game against Basehor-Linwood.
But instead of allowing him to finish his sentence when the Wildcats are slated to finish that contest, the officials on ruled Monday that he would have completed his punishment in the Perry-Lecompton game.
"Kyle gave us a boost in the second half," Murphy said after Bray finally took the field. "He had fresh legs. You could see the team get a lift in the second half when he came in."
Offensively, Murphy said it was just one of those days.
"You can have days where everything just comes together -- days when you score in bunches," Murphy said. "Today (Monday) we just stubbed our toe."
Murphy credited new Wildcat goalkeeper Ben Smith despite the first-half goal by Guffey.
Smith made a couple of tough plays that could have turned the flow of the game in Perry-Lecompton's favor had they gone the other way.
The first play came when Smith had to make a decision on whether to tip a Kaw shot-on-goal over the cross bar or to simply catch the ball.
Smith caught the ball and began to fall back in the goal. As his feet broke the plain of the net, however, the senior was able to keep his hands in front of him and the ball out of the goal.
On another play, the goalkeeper came out of goal while Perry-Lecompton was attacking and knocked the ball free from the opponent. Wildcat sweeper Scott Baldwin was then able to clear the ball.
Lance Williams had a top-notch game as well for the Wildcats. He marked Guffey and did an excellent job.
"Guffey scored that early goal before Lance had him figured out," Murphy said. "Good players will take advantage of players that they are not familiar with. From what I've seen so far, Lance will do a good job for us."
The Kaws out-shot De Soto by a slim margin in the first half but lost their edge in the second half when De Soto out-shot Perry-Lecompton by a 10-2 second half advantage.
De Soto, 1-0, will be in action again at 5:30 p.m. Thursday when the team is at home against Eudora.