Preps notebook: LHS, FSHS boys soccer set to face off in early city showdown

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Lawrence High's Mason Anderson (14) hits a header away from the defenders in the first half during a match Tuesday night at FSHS on Oct. 15, 2019.

Thursday’s boys soccer city showdown is slated to take place earlier in the year compared to previous seasons, and there is a lot less on the line than there was the last time these two teams met.

Lawrence High, which has raced off to a 3-0 start, will be looking to prove something when it plays host to Free State at 6:30 p.m. at LHS.

The Firebirds eliminated the Lions in the 2019 regional championship, a game that ultimately came down to penalty kicks to decide which team would advance to the Class 6A quarterfinals.

“I would think it’s always going to be in the back of these players’ minds even though it’s just a regular season game,” LHS head coach Mike Murphy said. “Our guys are going to want to go out and prove that game was just an anomaly for us, and we can take back control of the cross-town rivalry.”

Free State, meanwhile, is also motivated to do better than last year when the team went 10-7-2 during Hussam Mohammed’s first season at the helm. The Firebirds have every intention of building off their first regional crown in 10 years, despite losing eight players to graduation.

“The goal is to break last year’s record,” Mohammed said. “We lost a lot, but we still have a lot.”

Despite all that, it is actually the Lions that enter the latest crosstown clash with all the momentum, having won their first three games by a combined score of 13-2.

Lawrence’s toughest test was the season opener, when it had to claw back from a deficit to grab a 2-1 victory over Manhattan High. Starting junior goalkeeper Grant Glasgow, who missed the opener due to his red card in the final game of last season, was then able to return to the net and has since posted back-to-back shutouts in wins over Topeka High and Washburn Rural.

The Lions have seemingly hit the ground running, thanks in large part to strong contributions from key seniors. Senior Mason Anderson has six goals through three games, posting a hat trick against THS.

Alec Murphy, son of the LHS head coach, has been a focal point of the team as the midfielder. Senior defender Tanner Glanton has held things together on the backline to provide stellar defense for the Lions. Senior Wheeler Battaglia-Davis, sophomore Cale Scott and senior Nicholas Davies have also found ways to make an immediate impact for LHS.

“This year we finally have a really experienced bunch of seniors who are really confident,” Murphy said. “We are happy, but not satisfied. We still have some things to work on.”

Unlike Lawrence, Free State hasn’t had a match yet and will have to figure out a way to replace eight seniors from last year’s squad. The good news is that the Firebirds had a full offseason, albeit one that had to deal with a pandemic, under the direction of Mohammed.

Not only did Mohammed have to familiarize himself with a new team last summer, he didn’t have a full staff for much of the offseason. This time around, Mohammed has a better idea of what to expect from his group.

Mohammed expects senior midfielder Zack Goertzen, senior defender Ryan Duan, senior midfielder Krishi Sabarwal, senior defender Jackson Barnett, senior winger Yoav Gillath, senior forward Sarj Zeedan and junior midfielder Joon Chun to all make strides for FSHS this year.

“This year is much easier because it was a big learning curve for me,” Mohammed said. “I’ve been working with these kids for a year now, and I have a better idea of the program. Things are going in the right direction.”

How long this year can last ultimately remains to be seen, of course, due to the threat of coronavirus that has already impacted the schedule for both squads. But that’s why both coaches understand the importance of Thursday’s rivalry matchup.

“We wanted to get this game moved up because this is one the kids look forward to,” Murphy said. “We wanted to make sure we get it done before anything changed with our situation in Douglas County.”

“We are going to play each game like it is our last game,” Mohammed said. “We are going to put it all out on the field.”

Former LHS pitcher gets called up

For the first time in his career, former Lawrence High pitcher Garrett Cleavinger got called up by a Major League club. Cleavinger was asked to serve as the 29th man for the Phillies during their eventual split with the Marlins on Tuesday. Cleavinger did not appear in either contest, but it was still a significant moment for the 26-year-old lefty.

Had Cleavinger appeared in the game, it would have been his MLB debut and the first time he’s pitched in a game higher than the Double-A level. Cleavinger posted a 3.66 ERA in 51.2 innings at that level for Reading last season before eventually being added to the 40-man roster this past offseason.

BSA soccer wins opener

Bishop Seabury’s boys soccer team kicked off the 2020 campaign with a 4-2 home win over St. Mary. Beck Oldridge was responsible for all four scores, knocking in two goals for himself and recording a pair of assists on the other two goals. The other two scores were netted by Harrison Hartzler, who also had an assist in the game.

Bishop Seabury (1-0) will travel to Heritage Christian Academy on Thursday.

In other area soccer news, Eudora’s boys soccer team suffered a 5-0 road loss to Hayden on Tuesday to fall to 1-1 on the year. The Cardinals, who scored eight goals in the opener, were just never able to get their offense going on the wet grass field in Topeka.

Eudora will travel to Spring Hill on Thursday for its first Frontier League game of the season.

FSHS individual claims runner-up at golf tournament

Free State junior Addyson Meadows came away with some hardware after a strong performance at the Washburn Rural Invitational on Tuesday. Meadows shot an 80 to notch runner-up as an individual, finishing just one stroke behind Mill Valley junior Charley Strahm for first place.

Three other individuals finished in the top-20 to lead the way for Free State girls golf. FSHS sophomore Claire Berquist shot a 93 to finish eighth as an individual. Senior Claire Covert came in 16th with a 98, while sophomore Marrah Spriggs shot 100 to place 20th.

It was more than enough to help the Firebirds finish third as a team with a score of 371. Washburn Rural (343) and Mill Valley (35) each claimed the top-two spots in the team standings.

A few Lawrence High golfers were also at the event competing as individuals. Junior Rylie Hayden led the way for the Lions, carding a score of 111 to finish in 25th.

Washburn Rural Invitational

Team standings: 1. Washburn Rural 343; Mill Valley 350; Free State 371; Wamego 393; St. James Academy 407.

FSHS results: 2. Addyson Meadows 80; 8. Claire Berquist 93; T-16. Claire Covert 98; 20. Marrah Spriggs 100; 23. Emma Stammeyer 107; 27. Evan White 112.

LHS results: T-25th. Rylie Hayden 111; 30. Emme Dye 115; 35. Peyton Fowler 125.

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