PARK CITY — Wichita B-52s coach Larry Inlow had identified what his team was doing wrong after its early January shutout loss to Dallas at home. Despite a 3-6 record at the time, Inlow knew his team could be a top team in the Professional Arena Soccer League, even without proof of wins.
Wichita showed a transformation Saturday with an 11-5 win over Illinois at Hartman Arena.
“I think every time we step onto the field and we put together a great performance, it makes a statement of how we’re trying to be consistent,” Inlow said. “Right now I’d like to be considered as one of the teams that keeps improving every single game. If we can do that, I think we’ll eventually reach our goal of being one of the top teams in the league. “
Wichita (5-6) escaped Illinois (1-11) by one goal both times the B-52s met the Piasa this season, but Wichita hammered its way to a 10-1 lead Saturday.
“This series we have with Illinois is really kind of a neat measuring stick for us,” Inlow said. “Today I think we kind of put things together where we knew we had to keep our discipline, and we did for the most part.”
Wichita jumped ahead 4-0 after the first period, and scored three more in the second period. Wichita had two power plays before giving up one, when the Piasa scored. By the third period, Wichita took complete control, looking almost perfect.
The B-52s passed the ball around, scoring on a give-and-go after crowding the goal on each of its four power-play goals.
“The success was from the unselfishness from so many players, when we could have had so many guys take the ball in and shoot on their own, and they’d pass the ball off for a lay in to the other guy,” Chris Lemons said. “We get behind the ball defensively as a team, and we attack as a team, and that was evident tonight.”
Illinois scored three consecutive goals to open up the fourth period. Wichita scored one goal to kill the Piasa’s momentum, but the B-52s had trouble killing the power plays it gave up to Illinois, and the Piasa finished with four goals in the period.
“At the end of the game we found that it takes just as much character to finish a game when you’re on top, as it takes to try to come back from when you’re behind,” Inlow said. “We’ve got to mentally stay strong. Even though the score was a little bit out of hand tonight, we let our guard down and unfortunately it allowed the other team a few more goals than they might have deserved.”
Matt Clare finished with four goals, while Lemons had three assists.
Scoring — Wichita, Lawter (unassisted), 2:21; Cordoves (Clare), 9:28; Martinez (unassisted), 10:03; Lawter (Lemons) (power play), 14:22. Penalties — Illinois, Ordell (six fouls), 13:28.
Scoring — Wichita, Pittman (Modesto), 4:50; Clare (Lemons), 8:37; Illinois, Ordell (unassisted) (power play), 10:57; Wichita, Pittman (Bryant), 14:06. Penalties — Illinois, Ordell (six fouls), 7:12; Wichita, Clare (six fouls), 10:26.
Scoring — Wichita, Clare (unassisted) (power play), 4:30; Cordoves (Barton), 6:50; Clare (Lemons) (power play), 8:12. Penalties — Illinois, Abel (tripping), 2:42; Costakis (slide tackling), 7:57; Wichita, Chang (six fouls), 13:28.
Scoring — Illinois, Ordell (Costakis), 0:53; Nativo (unassisted), 2:07; Ordell (Hagerty), 7:36; Wichita, Clare (Lawter) (power play), 9:07; Illinois, Kittrell (Ordell) (power play), 10:19; Penalties — Illinois, Nativo (six fouls), 2:54; Nativo (tripping), 8:01; Wichita, Martinez (holding), 10:11; Bryant (tripping), 10:38;
Shots — Illinois 1-2-2-7 — 12; Wichita 13-9-5-4 — 31.
Saves — Illinois, Hagerty 20 on 31 shots; Wichita, Dewey 7 on 12 shots.
A — NA.