Pair of wins powers Cats
With the wind blowing fiercely out of the north, the De Soto Wildcats soccer team figured it may need to get a few goals while the wind was helping before switching sides in the second half.
The Wildcats took advantage of the strong winds with two goals in the first half on their way to a 4-2 win over Basehor-Linwood Tuesday at Basehor.
"I told the girls we needed to get at least three or four in the first half," De Soto coach Darren Erpelding said. "I was a little disappointed we only got two, but our defense did a good job the entire game for us."
De Soto got on the board first by taking advantage of the wind and the leg of midfielder Danielle Price.
The freshman put a free kick past the arms of Bobcat goalkeeper Kori Roberts to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
Basehor had trouble getting any momentum going on their offensive side as the De Soto backfield of Kate Beaver, Ashley Williams and Hannah Konetzni cleared the ball constantly allowing the Wildcats to put pressure on the Basehor keeper.
That pressure resulted in the Wildcats' second goal, once again from the foot of Price, as she arched yet another free kick into the back of the net. The goal gave the Wildcats' a 2-0 lead at halftime.
More impressive than De Soto's first half goals, however, was the way they took the wind away from Basehor in the second half.
The Wildcat defense clamped down and forced the Bobcats to take tentative shots despite the apparent wind advantage.
"Actually, we play a lot better going against the wind," Erpelding said. "When we do it than we know we can't play those long balls and it makes us play a little better on defense."
Sophomore goalkeeper Megen Bedford did her part to shut down the Basehor offense in the second half with five saves.
None, however, were bigger than the one she made in the 10th minute, when Basehor was awarded a penalty kick on a tripping call in the box.
Bedford denied the left-side kick by Audrey Brock to preserve De Soto's 2-0 lead.
"That's the best Megen's played this year," Erpelding said. "That play was big. It really energized the girls. And if it's vice versa, then they have the energy and it could be a different game."
De Soto quickly capitalized on the momentum only three minutes later as senior midfielder Jessica Blankenship launched a deflection from the top of the box past a diving Roberts for a 13th-minute goal and a 3-0 Wildcat lead.
The goal, which came going against the strong winds, was typical of how the Wildcats turned a strong second-half defense into positives on offense.
"We just knew we wanted to come out and keep attacking," Erpelding said. "They (Basehor) played a little defensively in the first half and we knew we would have to keep up the pressure."
The Wildcats' pressure produced one more goal in the 28th minute as senior Jenny Oberhelman nearly duplicated Blankenship's strike and gave De Soto a 4-0 advantage.
Basehor made things somewhat interesting late with two goals in the 33rd and 37th minutes, but the Wildcats' lead proved too much.
The win improved De Soto to 3-2-1 on the season and proved also to be a great indicator to the head coach following last week's win over Lansing.
De Soto beat Lansing in double overtime. After missing on several opportunities to end the game in the first overtime, the Cats finally took advantage in the second. Nicole Radcliffe broke away and took a pass, only the Lansing goalie standing between her and the win.
Beating the goalie to the ball, Radcliffe put on one quick move and sent the ball into an undefended net.
"That was a huge win for us," Erpelding said. "They (Lansing) are the best team in the league. We felt as though we were on the cusp and we needed to beat a team like them. "With spring coming and everything, sometimes the players' minds begin to wander and that kind of win helps me keep them engaged. We really capitalized on that momentum today and came here and played a solid game."