By Sam Jack
After narrowly beating the Campus Colts in a semifinal penalty shootout, the Eisenhower Tigers went on to win the Goddard-Campus boys soccer tournament, defending their 2019 tournament title.
Tigers head coach Roger Downing said he was happy with a 5-0 start to the season, but he is telling his players not to get too relaxed.
“I think this year more than any other year, the whole season’s up in the air with the teams we have,” Downing said.
In the Tigers’ Sept. 10 semifinal versus the Campus Colts, Eisenhower scored twice in the first half. Then the Colts went into the locker room and made some adjustments, according to head coach Casey Reece.
“I feel that the big difference between the second and first halves was that we made a real effort to pass the ball and string together as many passes as we could,” Reece said. “I think the ball movement really made the difference in that half, and the guys just really bought into it and had a lot of patience.”
Campus’ first goal was scored by Hassan Al-Amood, off a penalty kick. Roman Mendez scored the tying goal with under 2 minutes left to play, forcing a penalty shootout.
Eisenhower advanced to the final with a 5-4 win in penalty kicks. Tigers goalie Logan Glover made two saves to seal the win.
In the tournament final Sept. 12, the Tigers claimed the title with a 2-0 win over Garden City. Carlos Vidrio and Braeden Boor scored the goals.
Left forward Vidrio scored goals in all three tournament games, including the Tigers’ 10-0 mercy rule win over El Dorado on Sept. 9.
“He’s been a defender his whole life, so it’s kind of a new role for him, and he’s learning and getting better and better,” Downing said.
The Colts opened their tournament with a 10-0 mercy rule win over Winfield. Hassan Al-Amood became Campus High School’s all-time scoring leader during that game.
“His speed is definitely one of his biggest assets,” coach Reece said. “He just knows how to get open, knows how to find the open spots, whether he’s setting up one of the players for a goal or scoring himself. He just reads the game really well.”
The Colts’ loss to Eisenhower sent them to the tournament’s third-place game, where they faced the Goddard Lions. Goddard had beaten Buhler 5-0 in a rainy first round, then came close to beating Garden City for a chance to play Eisenhower in the tournament final.
In the game versus Garden City, the Lions’ Gabe Villegas scored within the first 10 minutes. The Lions defense held Garden City to one goal in the first half, keeping the game tied 1-1 at halftime.
“I think that was pretty much the turning point for us as a team so far this season,” Lions head coach Josh Hansen said. “Going into that second half, we completely came out as a different team. We played stronger, we played more physical, we were winning 50/50 balls, our passing became much quicker and more precise. We just couldn’t find the net, was our problem.”
Garden City scored again with just 30 seconds left in the game to forestall a penalty shootout and win 2-1.
“Needless to say, we were pretty heartbroken,” Hansen said. “We felt like we had the game and it was ours to win, and they just slipped in the last 30 seconds and beat us.”
The Saturday third-place game between Campus and Goddard was a rematch of the previous week, when Campus won 6-0. The Lions won an upset the second time around, beating the Colts 1-0. Addison Nguyen scored Goddard’s go-ahead goal with 10 minutes left in the game.
“That team mentality we had in the second half of Garden City, it didn’t stop,” Hansen said. “This team right now, we’re super young, we’re almost all sophomores. To play a team like Campus that took Eisenhower into PKs a few days before and come out and beat them 1-0 speaks volumes about where this team has come this season. So I’m extremely proud of the guys.”
Eisenhower hosted Campus on Sept. 15, and will play at Hutchinson this Thursday, Sept. 17, and at Salina South on Sept. 22.
Goddard played at Maize South on Sept. 15 and will travel to Mulvane on Sept. 21. On Sept. 22, the Lions will host Hutchinson.
Campus will host Andover Central this Thursday, Sept. 17, then travel to Andover on Sept. 22.
All games start at 6:30 p.m.