Historic win launches Cats’ postseason ambitions
De Soto coach Darren Erpelding said he couldn't remember any of the details about the second goal of his team's blowout victory against Spring Hill nearly two weeks ago.
The details of that roller into the net might escape the coach, but it's hard to blame him given the unprecedented run his team has been on since he said the season turnaround with that goal.
The Cats recorded one of their best weeks in years, transforming a meek two-game win streak into a four-game run by Thursday claiming their first win in program history against Maranatha and Tuesday adding a 3-0 win against Paola.
"Yeah, we've done alright as of late," Erpelding said. "That's three straight shutouts, and we've scored seven goals in the last three games."
Just how far the team has come in such a short time was seen everywhere Tuesday. It was in the team's eighth win of the season, the game at Paola, and it was strewn throughout in Erpelding's language afterward.
Prior to De Soto's Sept. 20 6-0 win against Spring Hill -- the game in which "it changed," according to Erpelding -- the Cats sat at .500 and were having a difficult time digesting a 3-1 loss to Baldwin, a team the Cats had handled 4-1 earlier in the season.
As he said, it changed, however. The four-consecutive wins came via a more consistent defense and a newly resourceful offense. With them came talk of new goals, new plans and new hope for a postseason run.
"We came back down," Erpelding said of his team's post-Maranatha attitude. "We realized, 'Yeah, that's a huge win, a big step for our program, but we have a lot of other things we want to accomplish.'
"It's like OK, lets move on to the next step. We're ready to put way more ball games and win in regionals."
Hope to capture a regional or win the league wouldn't be possible without the team's improved offense.
Three different Cats found the goal against Maranatha. Senior Paul Oswald put in his fourth of the season and both Octavio Villa and Jordan Riffel scored their first of the season.
It was similar against Paola, Brett Hevel scoring his third of the season, Riffel his second and Jordan Slater his first.
"We're just getting scoring from everywhere and that makes us much more dangerous," Erpelding said. "Anybody can score at any time with our offense and that's nice. They can't focus on one guy and shut us down like they have in the past.
"It's really pretty sweet."