Tuesday night, Northwest boys soccer coach Bobby Bribiesca watched his team play the type of game he had been waiting for.
The host Grizzlies defeated Kapaun Mount Carmel 4-1. The win was the fourth in five games after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Titan Classic.
"We were firing on all cylinders," Bribiesca said.".. And now that we've done it, we have to keep it going."
Struggling to find team chemistry, Northwest (5-4, 4-1 City League) lost three of its first four games, including a 2-1 loss to Kapaun in the fifth-place game of the Titan Classic. Since then, Northwest has had an attitude adjustment.
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"I had to move some players around and find a good fit," Bribiesca said. "The players have accepted their new positions. They are playing for Northwest and not for themselves."
With top scorer Robert Butler back after missing three games for disciplinary reasons, the team's offense is more cohesive, Bribiesca said. The Grizzlies are averaging two goals with Butler in the lineup. He scored four goals against Kapaun, all in the first half.
"To score that many against a quality team like Kapaun was big," Bribiesca said. "Kapaun played with more intensity in the second half, but coming from behind from that much is hard."
Bribiesca hopes that this will jump-start the Grizzlies, who have four games left in league play as well as games against Manhattan, Topeka and Maize.
"We've struggled the last two years, but we have some tradition and the kids understand that," Bribiesca said. "We want to be ready to make a run in the postseason."
Worth the drive _ Hutchinson plays host to Newton today in a matchup of two of the best area teams in Class 5A. The Railers (9-1) rebounded from a tough loss against Maize with a 2-0 win over Valley Center on Tuesday. Hutchinson (8-1-1) suffered its lone shutout in a 1-0 loss to McPherson.
Looking ahead _ On Tuesday, six of the area's best teams will be action. In City League play, East will face Kapaun. East suffered its first City League loss Tuesday to Southeast and needs to win out to have a chance at a share of the league title. Kapaun suffered losses to Southeast and Northwest. Kapaun needs to win to avoid the risk of placing outside of the top three for the first time since the 1995-96 season.
In area games, Trinity travels to Rose Hill for a Class 4-1A matchup and Maize hosts Hutchinson.