Other Bobcats step up in 2-0 victory at Perry
If Perry-Lecompton's main goal Monday afternoon was slowing down Austin Knipp, the Kaws did a good job. If their goal was beating the Basehor-Linwood High School soccer team, they came up a bit short.
The Kaws became just the second team all season to hold Knipp without a goal, but BLHS still won Monday's game 2-0.
Perry-Lecompton packed it in tight defensively and focused heavily on Knipp, the league's leading scorer. The Kaws coaches assigned their quickest defender to shadow Knipp wherever he went, and their goaltender screamed for defenders to clear the ball whenever the BLHS senior got anywhere near it.
With the regional tournament fast approaching, the Kaws' strategy was probably beneficial to the Bobcats, because it forced some of their other scorers to start looking for their own offense. Stephen Millison and Ryan Sirridge provided the goals and, while it was hardly a scoring explosion, it was plenty against Perry-Lecompton's uninspired offense.
"It's definitely good to see we can still win without having Austin put us on his shoulders," BLHS coach Kevin Vincent said.
After finishing in the Kaw Valley League cellar last year, the Kaws came back strong this season, riding one of the league's best defenses to an 8-3-1 record coming into Monday's game. Early on the Bobcats' powerful offense had trouble figuring out the new-look Kaws. Almost 15 minutes of play went by before either team managed a shot on goal.
Knipp, although heavily marked, managed to figure prominently in the game's first goal. After Tanner Bowers worked his way to the right corner he crossed it to Knipp on the left side. The senior headed it in front of an open net, and Sirridge scored it in the 18th minute.
Three minutes later Bowers carried the ball into PLHS territory again, this time dropping it off to Millison on the right side. The junior forward had a chance to cross the ball, but instead cut it inside skillfully and then scored with his left foot. It was the first goal Millison had scored in the last four games.
"It felt good to finally end the drought," he said. "I was starting to notice I hadn't scored in a while."
The Bobcats have shown a knack for scoring in bunches this season, but Millison's goal would be the last of the bunch on Monday. BLHS out-shot Perry-Lecompton 11-3, including 7-1 in the second half, but only a couple of shots gave the Kaws' goalie a real challenge.
"We haven't been playing with the same aggressiveness," Millison said. "We need to get back to it before we go into the tournament, where we lose one game and we're out."
Vincent said that it was natural for his players to be looking ahead to the post season a bit, given how promising the regular season has been. But he cautioned that it was important to take care of business in their last three games before the regional tournament, because they would effect seeding.