Wildcat soccer team off on the right foot
De Soto girls soccer team wins inaugural game, loses to Piper
Nicole Radcliff made history last Thursday when she scored what would be the first girls soccer goal in De Soto High School history.
The second-half score didn't win the game for the Wildcats, but it did tie the game and gave Wildcats coach Darren Erpelding's squad the momentum. The 3-1 triumph came against Topeka Cair Paravel in the first game of De Soto's inaugural girls soccer season.
"It was pretty exciting," Radcliff said. "Especially since I'm just a freshman. It tied the game so everybody was happy."
Erpelding said the first win in girls soccer eased the pressure on his team.
"It could have taken four, five or six games to get the first win," the coach said. "I'm just glad we were able to do it in the first game. Sometimes when you struggle to win, it can be emotionally draining. Now that we have that first win out of the way, we can concentrate on getting the second one."
Erpelding felt all along that it was just a matter of time before his team would finish off short-handed Cair Paravel.
"We knew they had just 12 girls on the team," Erpelding said. "We just had to do what we had been working on, and eventually they'd wear down."
De Soto, 1-1, did eventually wear down Cair Paravel and scored the final three goals of the game.
Radcliff's goal was scored when a Cair Paravel defender tried to clear the ball. But the freshman stayed with the play and was eventually able to get the score.
Radcliff knew, however, that there was no time to relax.
"We knew we had to work hard to get the win," she said.
Early in the second half, Cair Paravel forced De Soto to play from behind when freshman goalkeeper Megen Bedford mishandled a shot on goal.
"They did not get discouraged and play on their heels," Erpelding said. "I thought the goal was a wake-up call and we responded very well."
About seven minutes after Radcliff scored the first-ever goal, Katie Beck received the team's first-ever assist from junior Carrie Buser, and she finished. Beck cut back twice on her way to the winning goal.
With about a minute left in the contest, Jenni Hill received a ball from Jessica Blankenship and beat the keeper to the low side of the net for De Soto's third goal.
The Wildcats weren't as fortunate Tuesday when they lost 3-0 to Piper at home.
"Piper was one of the quickest teams we'll face all year," Erpelding said. "If there is anybody on our schedule faster, then we're in trouble."
Erpelding said the Wildcats got off to a slow start, and the Pirates took advantage in building a 3-0 halftime advantage. The second half got better.
"Had we played the first half like we did the second half, we would have won," the coach said.
De Soto will next be in action at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Immaculata.