Soccer can’t hang with Bonner
It was a tall task even with one of its best players.
Without, it proved too much for De Soto.
The Wildcats lost in the second round of the regional playoffs Thursday, falling 3-1 to Bonner Springs.
The Cats defeated Maur Hill 1-0 on Wednesday to advance, but lost senior sweeper Lance Williams to a red card in the process, suspending the defensive stalwart for the showdown against Bonner.
"Not only losing Lance, but we're basically two guys down," De Soto coach Darren Erpelding said. "We lose Lance out of sweeping and Brady (Seaman, who moved back to sweep) out of the middle."
The effects were felt on both ends of the field.
Up front, De Soto had trouble scoring all afternoon. Seaman finished the season second on the team in goals scored, with 14, and first in assists.
Working with sophomore Zach England, the two posed De Soto's most potent scoring threat. With Seaman relegated to defense, the results were evident on the scoreboard.
De Soto took a 1-0 lead early in the first half, but spent the majority of the first 40 minutes on the defensive.
"They dominated the first half," Erpelding said. "We had to play defensive once we got that goal. Taking Brady out of the middle just shut our offense down."
Still, De Soto did have several opportunities to extend the early lead.
Tim Oswald threw a ball in near Bonner's goal and England connected with his head, launching a shot about three inches over the goal's crossbar.
CJ Garrett had another opportunity right in front of the goal, but couldn't get aligned quickly enough to beat the goalie.
What they lacked on offense, De Soto made up for in defense -- for awhile at least.
De Soto goalkeeper Jake Sosna registered 12 saves and the Cats clung to the lead for the first 20 minutes of the second half before Bonner finally tied the game.
Down not just Williams, but Dmirij Schleinin also, Bonner's relentless attack was eventually too much.
Schleinin, a foreign exchange student from Germany, joined the team at the beginning of the season and had worked his way into a starting spot.
He had agreed to visit New York when he came to the United States and the paperwork couldn't be changed once he realized the conflict.
Bonner scored its second goal moments later, converting a penalty shot into the lead, and added one more as time expired.
"These guys did not want this game to be Lance's last game. They didn't want his last game to be sitting on the sideline," Erpelding said. "They didn't want Dmirij to be in New York. If we have a full team with Brady in the middle, Dmirij here and lance sweeping, we beat that team."
De Soto finished the season 9-9.