LVHS boys' soccer rallies for 'program-defining' win and other scores

Then they saw the light.

OK, well maybe that may be a dramatic retelling of Leavenworth High’s Sunflower League opener in boys’ soccer Tuesday night when Lawrence Free State came to visit Pioneer Stadium.

But, it sure was accurate, after the Pioneers rallied for a dramatic, 2-1, win and first-ever triumph over Free State, after conceding an early goal when the lights inexplicably shut down prior to kickoff.

The lights eventually came on around the 20-minute mark and from there, the Pioneers (4-1) were able to dictate on both sides of the field to surpass last year’s win total with 11 matches still left to play in the regular season.

“It’s like the Harmon match (a 3-0 loss), when we were losing, I couldn’t believe we were losing this game,” LVHS head coach Derek Wilson said. “A problem we have had since I have got here is winning the ball in the air and the guy owned up to it…the (lack of) lighting probably didn’t help at that time at night, but it is what it is.

“We looked so good, but when your program is used to losing, sometimes it takes a little extra time to get over the hump. I was proud of our boys for fighting back. I told the boys to keep their head high because ‘it’s coming, it’s coming.’ It was very obvious (a goal) was coming. This was a program-defining win. Skill has a lot to do with it and sometimes you need the ball to bounce your way and it bounced our way today.”

The Firebirds took advantage of a lack of light early on as a long kick toward goal bounced through the confused LVHS defense and ultimately into the back of the Leavenworth net off of a Free State head for a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.

As the lights flickered back to life so did the match and despite being on the front foot most of the first half, LVHS trailed 1-0 at the break, in a highly entertaining back-and-forth affair.

Timo Perez had two long-range attempts off of set plays just come up inches from tying the game in the latter stages of the the second half, but the Pioneers’ continual dominance of the ball and pressing on the Free State side of the field would eventually pay off.

Then in the 75th minute, the Pioneers broke through on a perfect service from Javier Barea that found an unmarked Justis Simon in front of goal and he efficiently slipped it past the goaltender for a 1-1 tie.

Wanting to finish the contest in regulation, the Pioneers’ defense continued to lock down on Free State and the attack never relented until the waning moments.

“I’d say we were very strong defensively and we kept the ball out,” junior defender Nate Moore said. “We made a few mistakes, but we cleaned it all it up and we were good. (The goal) we couldn’t judge it right. It was the lack of light and there were so many bodies and you couldn’t jump up.

“We kept it solid back there and the communication helped us a whole bunch. It feels great and it boosts our momentum going forward. We have to keep winning.”

Then as the game approached an apparent overtime, Sophomore Colby Loughry collected the ball about 12 yards out in front of the Free State goalmouth and the Pioneer took a shot that appeared to be saved, but instead saw the Firebird keeper lose it between his legs for a LVHS 2-1 lead with 33 seconds to go for the eventual win.

“We kept pushing hard,” Loughry said. “We were playing strong, we just weren’t connecting passes. (LVHS had the momentum) when we started making those runs up top, at the end. Once we got that first goal, we kept going strong from there.”


BASEHOR-LINWOOD 7, Bishop Ward 0: Five different players scored for the winning Bobcats (4-1, 1-1) Tuesday evening.

Tucker Johnson scored twice and other goals came by way of Gareth Harte, Carter May, Jaxon Bounds (1) and Nate Parkison (1). Bishop Ward was also credited with an own goal. 

"This was an excellent game for us overall," BLHS head coach Austin Knipp said. "Our movement and ability to work the ball to feet as well as use our wings for crosses in were outstanding tonight and really showed what we are capable of. I thought our defensive line was strong and focused tonight, not allowing anything easy. Zach Hanzlik also did well for us in goal resulting in his first career shut out.    I really feel the guys are starting to believe in themselves and trust the process that is a long season and to live each game one at a time and to progress each day, no matter how big or small. As long as we continue to move forward to learn and push ourselves each day, I think the sky's the limit."   BLHS led 3-0 at halftime.  


LEAVENWORTH splits two: The Pioneers moved to 2-3 on the campaign with a 2-0 (26-24, 26-24) win over Olathe West and a 2-0 (25-17, 25-17) defeat to Shawnee Mission South in Olathe.

Randi Raymos had eight kills, Hannah Wagner had five kills and three aces, Alaine Sloan had three kills and Ayden Bartlett had four aces in the win against West. Raymos (seven kills), Bartlett (five kills) and Jessica Sachen (three aces) led the way against South.

"We had way too many unforced errors against Shawnee Mission South," LVHS head coach Cassandra Rockers said. "We didn't take care of business on our side of the net.


LANSING sweeps Bishop Ward: The Lansing Lions swept Bishop Ward 3-0 (25-7, 25-7, 25-9) to move to 11-1 overall and 2-0 in Kaw Valley League action Saturday night.

Lacey Angello and Caitlyn Rexroat had seven kills apiece, Karli Schmidt had six kills and Rachel Fairbanks added five kills to pace the LHS attack. Courtney Rexroat had 29 assists.


BASEHOR blasts Tongie: The Basehor-Linwood girls made quick work of rivals Tonganoxie (3-0) 25-11, 27-25, 25-16 in Kaw Valley League play.

"We dominated set one, and set two we were losing 20-13 and came back and won," BLHS head coach Amy Irvin said. "We played with drive and heart and for each other. Set three we dominated most of the set again. Definitely a rival game with it being Tonganoxie. The team came to win. They showed great leadership and never gave up."

Basehor was led by Jenna Zydio (nine kills), Jaylyn McPherson (six kills), Katie Yankovich (six kills and three aces) and Taylor Pierce (16 assists and eight digs).


PLEASANT RIDGE takes two key matches: The Rams moved to 3-3 on the season with an impressive road sweep at Oskaloosa. 

Pleasant Ridge beat Horton 2-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-16) and the hosts 2-0 (25-20, 25-20).

"We continue to fight putting together a complete game from start to finish," Rams' head coach Joy Ewert said. "These girls put up a lead and then let it slip away so we are playing from behind almost every game.  Our senior outside hitter, Montanna Adams,  continues to put up big numbers leading the way for the team.  She is a strong leader.  ​Our middle hitters Julie Miller and Kaija Nutsch are starting to understand their roles.  They are becoming a force in the middle not letting much go by them.   "Our weakness is getting to the outside on hits.  We have to become much faster getting to those outside hitters on defense. Hanna Forge, sophomore setter, is getting better each game putting the ball right where our hitters like it.  She has quick soft hands and keeps the defense a step slow by working the ball around to all our hitters.  I love that this team continues to fight through the games and never quits."   Having big days for Pleasant Ridge were Adams (13 kills, 34 digs), Haley Forge (28 digs, five kills), Hannah Forge- (28 assists, six digs, four kills), Nutsch (eight kills, five digs, three blocks), Bailey Ko (48 digs) and Madison Ewert (17 digs, four aces).