On a sunny and breezy afternoon at Schuyler’s soccer complex, SCHS soccer teams both suffered defeats in matches against Lincoln Lutheran/Raymond Central on April 9.
The girls dropped their third in a row by a 5-1 final while the boys saw back-to-back wins last week come up short of three straight in a 1-0 defeat.
The girls game was scoreless 13 minutes into the match before a flurry of three goals over the next five and a half minutes by LL/RC spelled doom for Schuyler.
“For the first three goals we allowed, we were slow on defense and definitely getting beat,” stated Schuyler head coach Clarissa Dunn. “We were losing our marks, and Lincoln Lutheran was able to get some very good shots off.”
The difference in team speed between the two squads was evident throughout the match prompting Dunn to say, “Their team was pretty quick all over the field so we needed to figure out a way to change defensively.
"We ended up switching Lissi Martinez into the goal and having Leslie DeArcos play defense before the first half was over. Lutheran was still able to score on Lissi, but she did a very good job for it being her first varsity game in goal. Leslie also did a nice job on the field not having played there yet this year.
While LL/RC was credited with 30 shots on goal in the contest, Schuyler Central was limited to only one attempt in the first half coming off the foot of Reagan Folda.
“Thank goodness things picked up in the second half and we were able to get 12 shots on goal,” Dunn said. “Lesslie Romo scored her first goal of the season for us with an assist from Folda.”
"I do think the girls played hard. But speed was an issue for us. Our offense relies on being able to outrun the defense, and Lincoln Lutheran was as quick as we were.”
With the loss, the SCHS girls fell to 2-7 on the season while LL/RC improved to 5-2.
The boys match proved to be somewhat of an upset for SCHS with a defeat that knocked the Warriors out of the top 10 in Class B standings.
With matches remaining against Grand Island Northwest, Columbus Scotus, and Norfolk Catholic on the regular season schedule, the Warriors are jockeying for position in the power points standings. The loss dropped Schuyler down to 19th.
After the sub-district round, the eight sub-district winners plus the next eight highest in the power points advance to the district final.
Currently, Schuyler is looking at elimination from the postseason unless the Warriors can win a sub-district that includes Blair, Bennington, Elkhorn Mount Michael and South Sioux City.
The order of sub-district play is also seeded based on the standings at the end of the regular season.
As it stands now, Schuyler would face Bennington for the right to face top seed South Sioux City.
In the loss to Lincoln Lutheran, Junior Ethan Zager slipped a goal past Schuyler goalkeeper Juan Gonzalez in the first 10 minutes of the match. It was a goal that held up for the visitors during the next 70 minutes.
“We didn’t play the match like I thought we would," coach Lyndon Beebe said. "After the Aurora match we could see that we were getting much better at possessing the ball and transitioning from defense to offense. So I liked where we were at. Lutheran is a pretty good team, so I knew that we would have to work to be able to win the match.”
Grant Donovan was perfect in goal for the visitors, and the defenders in front of him shut down the Schuyler offense the majority of the match.
“Their defense was solid,” stated Beebe. “They had some nice touch in the midfield. We made just one defensive mistake all day, which cost us.
"What our guys have to realize is that it isn’t the defense making a mistake that hurt us. The problem was losing the ball in the midfield that led to the only goal of the match. It we had handled the ball in the midfield then our defense wouldn’t have been exposed.”
The loss dropped Schuyler Central to 6-4 on the season, but the Warriors are still in position to make it the state tournament again with a strong late-season run.
“Hopefully, we learned that we can’t just leave it up to the defense to do it all," Beebe said.
The Schuyler boys and girls teams are next in action Thursday hosting Columbus Scotus in a pair of matches at 5 p.m.
The Central Conference, slated to begin April 11, was scrapped last week due to impending cold temperatures and expected snow. The tournament will not be rescheduled.
Doug Phillips is a freelance writer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net