BLHS soccer season ends with loss to St. James
Dakota Foster and his Basehor-Linwood teammates had to battle back tears after his final high school soccer game against St. James Academy.
It was a common occurrence for Foster, the team captain, and his teammates who had flawlessly executed a game plan in the first half against St. James Academy only to lose the game 4-1.
Afterward, there were hugs all around. Players couldn’t believe the season was over as they had poured so much into the year and finally into preparing for the Class 4-1A regional opener against St. James.
Less than two weeks after the initial meeting agains St. James which BLHS lost 6-1, the Bobcats switched defensive formations and offensive plans to take on the Thunder.
The result was a focused BLHS performance and a 1-0 score at halftime.
“It was a good game,” St. James coach Rick Enna said. “They came out and played hard in the first half. I think they played harder and better than we did in the first half. I am not sure we were mentally ready to play. I felt like as the game wore on we were better able to create opportunities.”
Early on, though, Basehor-Linwood executed offensively using short passes and effective field reversals to move the ball. BLHS had numerous shots on goal in the half, but its best scoring chance occurred when Zach Sawalich hit a ball that bounced off the crossbar bounced out.
In the 32nd minute, Basehor-Linwood’s Lane Young and Steven Coy took shots on goal, but neither scored. The shots occurred at a time when the Bobcats had momentum. They had chances to score, but could not convert.
The lone hiccup of the firs half for the Bobcats occurred when St. James’ Austin Murrell made a breakaway shot from 30 yards out. Murrell’s speed made a difference throughout the game.
Steven Enna and St. James took over in the second half. Enna scored a goal less than a minute into the half. He burned the Basehor-Linwood defense and tapped the ball in for the goal.
Moments later, St. James was whistled for a foul in the box. Marcas Box stepped up and drilled the penalty kick and pulled BLHS within 2-1.
“It just got me motivated to win the game after we scored the goal,” Box said.
St. James countered with a penalty kick goal by Enna in the 54th minute for a 3-1 lead. Off the restart, Enna took possession of the ball and scored another goal. The Thunder led 4-1 and were in control.
For the rest of the contest they were effective at possessing the ball and maintained momentum.
“I thought we pressured more in the second half and held on to the ball with more composure in the second half,” Enna said.
The loss ended the season for the Bobcats. It was called a year of growth by Basehor-Linwood goalkeeper Russell Clark.
“This year has been the best season growth-wise; we have become a team and we enjoy being together as a team,” Clark said. “The team chemistry is so good, we all do something different.”
Foster said it is sad to think that the season is over.
“It meant the world to me to be a captain on this team,” he said. “You could not ask for a better team.”
BLHS coach Autin Knipp said it was a tough way to end the season and that he was proud of his players.
“I am not sure what I am sadder about, the end of the season or losing these eight seniors who aren’t going to be around,” Knipp said. “A lot of these seniors play in the offseason and put so much into soccer that it means a lot to them.”
BLHS ended its season with a 8-8-1 record.
St. James (9-8-0) advances to the regional finals at 6 p.m. today at Atchison.