The Kapaun Mount Carmel boys soccer team may not have may not have had the results it wanted in the Titan Classic, but it bounced back Tuesday with a 3-2 win over North.
Coach Alan Shepherd is confident Kapaun (2-2) will learn from its losses against state-ranked Hutchinson and Northwest.
"Losing to Hutch and losing to Northwest was tough, but these last two games have picked up our confidence as a team," Shepherd said. "Our standards are pretty high, and when we don't play up to those standards we get pretty upset. We've played four very good teams in our schedule and we've learned a lot."
The atmosphere around the team has changed after consecutive wins over East and North, and senior leaders Jacob Ewers and Luke Campbell hope it rolls into their rivalry game today with Bishop Carroll.
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"We stumbled a little bit out of the gates, but we are starting to pick up some momentum," Ewers said. "Obviously those two wins were huge. We just plan on continuing to gain momentum and improve each week all the way through City League and into the regionals."
Shepherd returned as Kapaun boys coach last season after a seven-year absence. The Crusaders went through growing pains last year, but the games and practices have become more streamlined.
"Compared to last year, I think we have a lot more team chemistry," Campbell said. "A year ago we used to have a lot of arguments. There were a ton of kids who didn't get along. This year we have chemistry. Coach Shepherd has put us together well, and our team as a whole is a lot better this year."
Independent improving — In 2009, Independent didn't have a varsity boys soccer team. This year it started its season with co-coaches. John Gray and Randy McVay have coached the team to 2-4 start, 2-2 in the Central Plains League.
The concept of co-coaches was weird to players at first, but after six games and more than a month's practice, they are starting to see improvement.
"We get insight form two different people and they feed off of each other really well," senior defender Colin McMaster said.
Independent, fresh off a 4-3 win over Sunrise Academy, will host Independence today at 4:30. Both McVay and Gray will have a say on the sidelines.
"He is a good disciplinarian and an overall communicator with the kids as far as getting on their level and telling them what they need to do to improve," Gray said. "I'm more of the technician and have more to do with the building and the chess portion of the game."