Past two league champs set for soccer showdown
It's far too early in the season to say what impact the Lansing High boys soccer team's game at 6 p.m. today will have on determining the Kaw Valley League champion this season, but it's safe to say the league's two perennial powers will treat it like a prize fight.
Lansing won the 2005 KVL crown and Mill Valley was the 2006 champ. Both teams also won their season-openers by 4-0 scores on Friday with LHS topping Bonner Springs and MVHS tripping Tonganoxie.
Mill Valley suffered a major setback on Monday, however, when it was pounded 5-0 by Basehor-Linwood. Basehor and Lansing tied for second in the league last year.
Now the tune-ups are over. It's time for the showdown.
Fortunately for the Lions, their revamped starting lineup showed plenty of improvement throughout the course of the game against Bonner Springs. That should be a cause for optimism as they prepare to face an experienced Jaguar squad that returns most of its starters from a year ago.
"A lot of the people that are new stepped up," senior Nick Stevenson said.
Those new people included senior goalkeeper Ethan Alexander, who delivered a shutout and a pair of acrobatic saves during his inaugural appearance at LHS.
"I've got a feel for my team even more now that I've played with all of them," Alexander said after the game.
Other impact newcomers were junior forward Robin Beemer, who scored the game-winning goal, and freshman forward Chris Rathjen who also scored.
Junior Joe Goll also was an effective addition to the starting lineup on defense. Despite being tested numerous times by Bonner's speedy forwards, Goll repeatedly was up to the test.
Still, Lansing (1-0 overall, 1-0 KVL) knows Mill Valley (1-1, 1-1) will be a much stiffer test.
"Mill Valley is definitely going to be a tough game, but we just can't worry about that," junior midfielder Clayton Hall said. "We know Mill Valley is going to be there, but we just have to step up ourselves."
After playing Mill Valley, Lansing will be off for Labor Day weekend before returning to the field at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Tonganoxie at Lansing Middle School.