Eisenhower and Maize South are nearly identical in the Kansas Class 5A boys high school soccer standings.
With the same number of wins under their belt, and stacked up right next to each other in the state seeding, the Tigers and Mavericks knew that Tuesday’s game was a pivotal one.
Despite a scoreless second half for the Tigers, Eisenhower came away with a 2-1 victory.
“Preparing for a game like this just starts at the practice field by giving 100 percent every day,” Eisenhower senior Fernando Vidrio said. “Then we’ll get the results that we want on the field, and that’s what matters.”
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Eisenhower coach Roger Downing believes that his team was lucky to get the win over Maize South.
“I don’t think we played that well,” Downing said. “Maize South, they’re a good team; they played hard, so to come away with a victory, I’m pretty happy about that.”
Eisenhower started the game strong and secured a lead in the first few minutes when senior Tyler Brewer found senior Ian Young for an early goal.
Maize South had few shots on goal in the first half, leaving the Mavericks scoreless at intermission.
With just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, junior Ethan Doud connected with Vidrio for the Tigers’ second goal.
“Getting those two early goals was extremely important,” Vidrio said. “Especially since we didn’t score in the second half. I’m glad we could just defend really well the last half.”
Maize South picked up its intensity after the break. Senior Bryce Bowman slipped in a goal to put the Mavericks on the board midway through the second half.
Downing said that his players’ ability to work through their mistakes was the deciding factor in the game. The Tigers remain on track toward their goal of earning another conference title.
“Honestly, my kids had a lot of grit today,” Downing said. “They played hard and they stuck in when they had to, and we pulled the game off. Moving forward, this puts us in a great spot to win the conference again this year, which is what we plan to do.”