Photo by Shawn Linenberger. Enlarge the photo.
Tonganoxie High soccer players put on a very good show in front of their home crowd in the season opener at Beatty Field on Thursday.
The Chieftains scored in waves in both halves en route to a 6-0 shutout against Maur Hill Mount Academy.
THS scored around 14 minutes into the game on a close range shot from Daniel Zesati before scoring another goal when sophomore Aiden Van Middlesworth scored the Chieftains’ second goal with 19:46 left to play in the half on an assist from Zesati, a senior. About a minute later (18:44), Zesati scored a second goal.
“We actually had some of the best off-ball moves I’ve seen,” THS coach Michael Barnes said after the game. “We changed the training.
Tonganoxie took a 3-0 halftime lead and resumed from there in the second half.
Van Middlesworth scored his second goal of the night with 23:24 left in the second half before Zesati scored a hat trick with a third goal just over 3 minutes later (20:16).
With 15:50 to go, Zesati scored a fourth goal.
Barnes explained that THS used more offensive formation instead of holding formation on Thursday, a move that worked rather well. THS circulated the ball efficiently throughout the game against the Junior Ravens.
It’s really my style, ”said Barnes. “Attack, press, attack, press.”
Junior Derick Barnes, junior Brenan Kuzmic, Van Middlesworth and Zesati all had assists against MHMA. Tonganoxie had 21 shots and 21 shots and eight shots on goal. THS sophomore goaltender Jackson McWilliams made saves against the Junior Ravens.
Tonganoxie went to 2-1 with the victory against MHMA (0-2).
THS suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday when the Chieftains fell to reigning five-time State Champion Bishop Miege at Roeland Park.
Tonganoxie fell behind Miege early, as the Stags scored three goals in the first 18 minutes, two from corners and a third when THS was in the defensive misalignment, according to Barnes.
But the rest of the match, Tonganoxie crouched down and did not allow another goal, losing 3-0 to Miege (2-0).
McWilliams made 15 saves against Bishop Miege.
THS had four shots against the Stags of Gavin Shupe, Kuzmic and Zesati (2) and three shots on goal, two from Zesati and one from Shupe, who also received a yellow card.
Barnes said he learned from watching his team that the team play with a lot of heart and a strong work ethic.
“They didn’t give up,” Barnes said, noting that they did everything that was asked of them while making slight adjustments. “They just kept on grinding.”
This experience should help the Chieftains if they meet the Stags again in the playoffs, which has been the case for the past two seasons.
After a first parish part of the calendar (Kansas City Christian, Bishop Miege and Maur Hill Mount Academy), Tonganoxie faces its first Frontier League enemy on Tuesday when Spring Hill arrives in town. The Broncos are 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the league. The match starts at 6 p.m.