Seabury Academy boys soccer coach Brian Clyne wasn't fooling himself or his squad when he scheduled formidable Class 4A foe De Soto.
He knew darn well hanging with the Wildcats would be a daunting task for his Seahawks, a 1A program. But it was a move he had to do to prepare his team for the postseason.
Sure enough, De Soto gave the Seahawks (4-7) all they could handle in a 9-0 clubbing Tuesday afternoon at the Youth Sports Inc. fields.
"As a 1A school we've gotta play a 4A school at regionals, so we've gotta play a team like this," Clyne said. "I don't want to have six of them on my schedule, but we've gotta have one. These guys have got to see what that upper echelon looks like, and De Soto has proved that they're in that upper echelon."
In the first half, De Soto (8-5) exposed its primary flaw -- a lack of focus -- and Seabury capitalized by keeping the game close. The Wildcats held a 16-2 shot advantage in the first half but only put six on goal. Seabury's defensive front of Justin Esau, Steven King, Mike O'Malley and Ben Levy also did a great job cutting off passing lanes.
Only DHS freshman Zach England found net before halftime when, in the 31st minute, his blast from eight yards out deflected off Seabury goalkeeper Paul Bireta and went in.
"We've been pretty undisciplined the last couple of games," DHS coach Mike Murphy said, "so we really worked hard on that tonight. Being disciplined about communicating, about staying on our marks, about moving to space and all the things you need to do to be a good soccer team.
"We didn't do that in the first half, so at halftime I made them tell me all the things they were doing wrong. I wasn't going to point it out because I thought it was very obvious. Once they pointed it out they went out there, corrected their mistakes themselves, and balls started going in the net."
Once De Soto started scoring, it didn't stop. It tallied eight goals in the second half -- six in a span of 14 minutes. In all, England had four goals, Jordan Hevel scored two, and Scott Baldwin, Ben Moon and Spike Delepena added one each.
De Soto didn't score in the final eight minutes, however, while Seabury's Yoo Sung Cha and Min Kyu Lee had late breakaways that almost put the Seahawks on the board.
"Goal number one was play a good first half, play them hard in the first half, and we did that," Clyne said. "We know that one of their motivations when they play weaker teams is to run-rule you, and we didn't let that happen."
Seabury will play host Monday to K.C. Sumner on Senior Night. De Soto will play host Thursday to Eudora.