Inconsistency has been a recurring theme to the Wings’ season. Coach LeBaron Hollimon mentions it, the Wings players mention it, and Friday’s game against the Baltimore Blast at home was the perfect display of it.
With a five-point lead and less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Wings allowed an 11-point Baltimore come back and fell 17-11 to the Blast.
“The first thing to go when you’re tired is the mind,” Hollimon said. “We started getting tired and making poor decisions in critical areas of the field. Teams like Baltimore are too good, they punish you, and at the end of the game that’s what got us.”
Wichita came out with a seven-point period in the first quarter, scoring its first goal from Freddy Moojen’s slot shot with 5:12 remaining.
Miguel Ferrer scored an unlikely three-point goal with a free kick just outside of the arc that was deflected into the goal by a Baltimore defender. Moojen scored again with a volley from the right side of the goal only 30 seconds later.
Wichita’s inconsistency showed in the second quarter, when it allowed Baltimore three goals, the final one coming with only 21 seconds remaining. The Wings could not score, and were outshot 6-2, after outshooting Baltimore 9-3 in the first quarter. The Wings clung to a one-point lead at halftime.
“First quarter was great, at the end of the first quarter was simple, keep doing what we’re doing,” Hollimon said. “Halftime was pretty easy too, let’s get back to what we were doing in the first quarter, which was pressing the point of attack, not allowing easy entry balls, and we went back to that in the third quarter.”
Moojen added a third-quarter goal to complete a hat trick. With 9:27 remaining in the fourth quarter Adrian Gonzalez scored again for Wichita to make it 11-6. A win was starting to seem likely for the Wings, then Baltimore scored at 5:03.
The Wings still had a three-point lead, but Baltimore scored three goals each separated by less than a minute, including one three-point goal.
“I think there was five minutes left in the fourth quarter, and we had three goals up,” Moojen said. “We had the game, the game was over, we just had to keep the ball and don’t let them score, and like I said, I don’t know how to explain what happened, I have no idea.”
“It’s tough to fight for 55 minutes and then lose the game in the last five minutes,” Wichita goalkeeper Sanaldo Carvalho added.
The Wings, playing their final home game of the season, scored 11 points on the Blast, which allows 8.7 points per game.
Wichita ends its regular season with five games on the road, and sits a game and a half behind Chicago in pursuit of a spot in the playoffs.