Baldwin, Eudora to collide in area soccer showdown on Thursday

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The stage is nearly set for one of the area soccer schedule’s biggest battles, as Baldwin travels to Eudora on Thursday night for a midseason test. After Eudora claimed bragging rights on the gridiron in a 48-7 blowout this month, the rivals are taking their talents to the pitch.

Baldwin (10-1) enters the match as the clear favorite, ripping off seven consecutive victories since dropping a 4-0 loss to 6A foe Gardner Edgerton earlier in the month.

“They’ve seen a lot,” Baldwin coach Matt McCune said. “There’s still a lot I couldn’t do last year with this team and that’s more just how we’re attacking in the final third (of the game). That’s creating more options, when typically in years past we just didn’t have the experience.”

That experience isn’t strictly from upperclassmen, either. Baldwin features just six seniors this season, with many of its underclassmen returning from last year’s 4A state runner-up team. Sophomore midfielder Cooper Carr, the team’s leading scorer (nine goals and nine assists) is on the front lines.

Along with Carr, Baldwin can depend on senior forward Joey Ziembicki and junior midfielder John “Tito” Biles for support. The Bulldogs’ defense, led by senior Dylan Patterson and junior goalkeeper August Boyle, will be a proper test for the Cardinals on Thursday.

Eudora (5-5), which saw its two-game winning spurt snapped at home 6-1 to Prairie Village-Kansas City Christian last week, is working out some midseason wrinkles with playoff ambitions very much a possibility for the Cardinals and head coach Darren Erpelding.

While Eudora’s attack hasn’t been completely established yet, Erperlding said, it’s a different story for the defense. Until last week’s loss to KC Christian, Eudora was allowing just one goal per game behind junior goalkeeper ​​Nate Steinlage.

At the heart of the Cardinals’ offense is senior midfielder and leading scorer Derek Lehmann (eight goals). He’ll be supported by senior wing Ayden Ramirez, who’s caught Erpelding’s attention by contributing three goals so far this season.

Defensively, senior Christian Koehn will be on the front lines protecting the net and Steinlage against a powder-keg Baldwin squad. However, Erpelding feels it’s time for his team’s offense to finally put it together upfield.

“I want to see us start putting the ball in the back of the net and having a little bit more of a swagger to us,” Erpelding said. “I want people to know when we step onto the field, we’re going to bring it. That’s what I’m looking for headed into Thursday.”

Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Eudora District Stadium.

Volleyball Roundup from Tuesday

The Lawrence High volleyball team knocked off two Sunflower League opponents, Olathe North (25-15, 20-25, 25-18) and Shawnee Mission South (25-11, 25-12) on Tuesday night at SM South.

Leading the way for LHS (6-8) was senior Seenane Brewer with 17 kills and seven digs. Junior Maddy Crawford and sophomore Kennedy Glasgow finished the evening with nine digs each. Senior Brecken Ostronic chipped in six digs along the way.

Next up, LHS travels to Gardner Edgerton for a dual beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Back home, the Free State volleyball team split their dual against Olathe Northwest (10-25, 15-25) and Shawnee Mission North ( 25-11, 25-15) on Tuesday night. The Firebirds (4-17) are back in action against Olathe West and Shawnee Mission Northwest on Wednesday beginning at 5 p.m.


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