Varsity Soccer

Two of Wichita’s best boys soccer teams share 10-goal thriller with pair of hat tricks

Christian Raffinengo took a touch off his chest and through his right boot through the ball from about 30 yards out.

The shot rifled against the wind and soared into the top right corner. It was the fourth goal of the game, and there were still more than 10 minutes left in the first half.

Six more goals hit the back of the next Tuesday night in Eisenhower’s 6-4 home win over Maize South. Raffinengo’s second of three goals was only a sign that more were on the way.

“We were in the state championship game, a regional and a semifinal last year,” Maize South coach Rey Ramirez said. “What we just saw was state-level soccer on both sides of the ball.”

Raffinengo had a hat trick on senior night, but he wasn’t the only player to put three in the basket.

Maize South cracked the scoring within the first quarter hour. Senior Cooper Joseph lofted in a perfect cross to junior forward Landon Eskridge, who headed it home.

Eisenhower senior forward Carlos Fernandez equalized a couple of minutes later as he handled a bobbled ball in the box from a corner kick. But Eskridge secured a first half brace soon after for a 2-1 Maize South lead.

_MG_7964 (2).JPG
Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Then came Raffinengo’s jaw-dropper. And he scored again to give Eisenhower a 3-2 lead. And again for a 4-2 lead.

With about 30 minutes left in the second half, Eskridge found his hat trick. He gathered a low cross into the top of the box. He looked up, saw Eisenhower goalkeeper coming out, and chipped it over him to make it 4-3.

Then came arguably the game’s most dangerous goal-scorer. Maize South junior forward Raul Gerhardus left his mark with a venomous free kick that bamboozled the goalkeeper and equalized, 4-4.

There were still more than 20 minutes left.

_MG_8089 (2).JPG
Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Eisenhower scored a pair of late goals to secure the win, but it left both teams wanting to continue on in the Goddard night. Eisenhower coach Roger Downing said it was one of the craziest games he has ever been a part of.

“I’ve said all year, we’ve got two or three of the best attackers in the conference,” Downing said. “And they got two as well. Any time you get that, it’s a recipe for a lot of goals.”

Eisenhower and Maize South entered Tuesday night with a 25-0-0 combined record. They were two of three undefeated teams left in Kansas, along with AVCTL II rival Andover Central.

They entered with 158 combined goal and 23 combined goals allowed. They were the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds in Class 5A West respectively.

Last year, Eisenhower beat Maize South in the regular season. They met in the postseason, and Maize South got even with an overtime win over the Tigers. They went on to finish runners-up in Class 5A.

The players know each other. They respect each other. But when the whistle blows, they turn into arguably the biggest rivals in the Wichita area.

“It’s a great feeling to get revenge,” Raffinengo said.

_MG_7984 (2).JPG
Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle
Related stories from Wichita Eagle

Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.