When your last name is Chance, you had better be active in the scoring area.
Free State High junior Daniel Chance had no problem with that Thursday as he scored two goals and nearly capitalized on several other "chances" during the Firebirds' 3-1 victory over Bonner Springs at FSHS.
"Daniel stepped up and hit some bombs for us today," Free State coach Jason Pendleton said. "Even when he didn't score he proved he was a threat and opened up chances for other guys."
Chance's first goal, which came with 24 seconds remaining in the first half, gave the Firebirds a 1-0 lead. As Free State pushed the ball in transition, junior Jesse Clayton sent a high lob to the middle of the field where only Chance and a BSHS defender gave chase. The ball bounced softly at Chance's feet as he hit the brakes and delicately guided the ball past the scrambling goalkeeper and into the net. He showed outstanding finesse for a player known for blasting shots.
Bonner Springs tied the game at 1-1 just 2:12 into the second half when senior forward Alex Soto lofted a 30-yard shot over Free State goalie Ethan Morton-Gaught as he backpedaled and leapt attempting to deflect the shot. The ball slipped under the crossbar and over Morton-Gaught's finger tips.
The lone BSHS goal came on the heels of a Free State mistake that Pendleton said should never have happened.
"We weren't playing fast enough and they punished us for it," Pendleton said. "That was good for us because we can go back and look at what happened and work to fix it."
Moments after the Braves tied the game, Chance struck again. This time it was an empty opportunity of his own that led to Free State's second goal. As sophomore Diego Gonzales charged hard on the far side, he flipped a perfectly-placed pass to Chance, who ripped a rocket from 15 yards away. The shot deflected off a Bonner Springs defender and took a generous hop on the opposite side of the box, where senior Tyler Hatesohl slammed it into the open net.
With the deeper Firebirds starting to wear down the Braves, Chance capitalized one last time with 25:12 to play. His second goal of the day came via the second assist of the day from Gonzales.
Thursday's game marked the first time the Firebirds took the field without their high-powered offense from a season ago. Because of that, Gonzales said the team focused on getting everyone involved in the attack.
"Last year, we had great forwards that could score whenever they wanted," Gonzales said. "This year we have good forwards, but we want to play more as a team."
The victory moved Free State to 1-0 on the season and left Pendleton satisfied with the end result.
"Overall, for the first game of the season, there were a lot of positives and plenty of things we saw that we can work on, too," Pendleton said.
Next up, Free State will play host to Shawnee Mission South at 4 p.m. Tuesday.