Late collapse bounces soccer
2-0 halftime lead slips away in frustrating loss to Basehor
De Soto soccer coach Darren Erpelding was filled with contrasting emotions even days after his team was eliminated from postseason play.
On one hand, the Wildcats let a 2-0 halftime lead slip away and become a season-ending 4-2 loss to Basehor.
On the other, he said from start to finish the Cats, 9-9, have never played better and there just wasn't much more they could have done.
"We played from the very beginning," Erpelding said. "We played very well. In the second half, they stepped up their game and played better, but I thought we still played well.
"I thought we had it, then we let it go."
Zach England scored twice and De Soto held a 2-1 lead with nine minutes remaining, but the Cats couldn't hang on as they lost in the regional championship for the second-straight year.
Basehor cut into De Soto's lead by hammering home a deflected ball 12 minutes into the second half, but didn't make the game real interesting until the end was almost in sight.
The Bobcats tied the game with nine minutes to go, then scored two more goals to take the lead, then put the game away.
"We were right there. There were some things we could have done different, but we were there," Erpelding said. "We played about as good as we could possibly play."
It was a few frustrating calls that sent the Cats tumbling, Erpelding said. Basehor's Kyle Allen put his team on the board, but De Soto still maintained a firm grip on the game.
Senior Austin Knipp, who set the Kansas career scoring record with his 97th goal in the team's opening-round playoff game, led the Bobcats. De Soto senior Adam Justice was effective in locking Knipp down for most of the game, however.
Shadowing Knipp wherever he went, Justice kept the speedy threat from even getting the ball very often, and when he did, a slew of other Wildcats were quickly ready to offer support.
"(Knipp) touched the ball three times in the first half," Erpelding said. "He got it a bit more in the second half, but Adam did a phenomenal job and when he did get beat, we had someone right there. We just kept pushing him further and further away."
The Wildcats even earned several chances to expand upon their lead, but that's where the frustration came in, Erpelding said.
De Soto had two second-half goals called back by close offside penalties, and rather than take a safe lead, Erpelding said his team lost its head.
"We got called offside like nine times in the second half. Scott (McKechnie) got a through ball and he was able to beat the goalkeeper low. The next one was a loose ball in the middle. Santiago hit a wide open net, but they called offside on both.
"The fans got pretty riled up and I got pretty riled up. I lost my focus for a little bit and that led to the guys losing their focus. Next thing you know, boom, they score and it's tied."
Two more quick "booms" followed.
Knipp finally broke free to tie the game in the 72nd minute, then chased down another loose ball four minutes later to put his team in front.
Basehor tallied one final goal with just two minutes remaining, Ryan Sirridge knocking home a rebound off a free kick.
"I don't think we ever regained our composure," Erpelding said. "We got a shot off, but we never regained complete focus. They took advantage of it."