Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Quick start in home finale

October 17, 2007


It took the Free State High boys soccer squad no time at all to score a game-winning goal against Olathe North on Tuesday.

O-North took the opening kickoff, but turned it into a bad pass that led to a goal by Free State senior Alex Clayton a mere 12 seconds into the contest.

"That's the fastest goal we've ever scored," FSHS coach Jason Pendleton said following the team's 2-0 victory on Senior Night. "I don't know that anyone can score faster. I've had teams before that scored off the kickoff, but usually it's your own kickoff. ... But then we had to hold on for 79 minutes and 48 seconds."

Clayton was able to split the defenders to track down a pass from fellow senior Erik Slan and beat the goalkeeper.

"That wasn't me by any means, that was great build-up and a great ball by Erik," Clayton said. "It just fell nicely to me."

The Firebirds (10-5, 7-3 Sunflower League) scored their final goal halfway through the second half when freshman Diego Gonzalez knocked in Slan's header off of a Jordan Williams throw-in.

"We a great goal from Diego," Pendleton said. "He executed a play that we work on in practice, so that's positive. But we probably shoulda-coulda scored more."

Free State's defense made things hard on senior goalkeeper Frank Hurtig in the second half. It took a few saves by Hurtig to preserve the shutout, including a shot from an Eagles attacker unmarked in the middle of the box.

Hurtig's hard work was rewarded with a loud ovation from the Free State fans when he was pulled with 3:30 left in the contest.

"That was nice. We've got a lot of support," Hurtig said. "We have a lot of great fans, and it was just fun. It would have been bad if we would have lost."

The Senior Night did have a few blemishes, however. FSHS received three yellow cards during an altercation in the first half when an Olathe North player slammed Slan to the ground - and Slan was given a yellow.

Slan also had an opportunity to score a goal with 11 minutes remaining, but it hit off the inside of the post and bounced out.

That was one of many opportunities FSHS had to expand on its lead, but as Pendleton pointed out, the field conditions were so abysmal it was difficult to attack.

"Our field is just absolute rubbish," Clayton said. "But still that's no excuse. We're not going to get that many chances against an Olathe East or even on Thursday against Shawnee Mission Northwest. So we definitely need to put in those chances once they come to us."

The Firebirds have locked up a higher seed for the first game of regionals and the opportunity to play host to the first round.

"The reason this win was so important is it guaranteed that we're going to be the home-seed for our first game and still in the mix to possibly host both games if we are fortunate enough to win," Pendleton said. "This definitely moved us into at the minimum a three-seed and possibly a two-seed."


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