Titan Tournament disappoints, team shows improvement

Kris Long, Opinions Editor

After conceding two losses and then coming back to win the last match, Manhattan High boys soccer came in seventh in the Wichita Titan tournament, which concluded on Saturday.

They went into the tournament confident after winning their first game of the season against Lawrence.

“We were expecting to do better than [seventh],” junior Michael Ohler said. “[But] we’re still … learning to play together. And I think that this tournament was kind of a trial for us learning to work together as a team.”

MHS competed in the top bracket this year, compared to last year when they were in the second, meaning the teams were more competitive. 

MHS played the first game on Monday, Sept. 2, losing to Wichita Heights 4-0.

“Coming out, they really came out a lot more physical than us in that game,” Ohler said. “And I think it … rubbed us the wrong way… because of that we made sloppy mistakes and it cost us four goals.”

The game was close throughout the first half, with chances on either side but Heights dominating possession. In the second, MHS won and missed a penalty. Coming off that momentum, Heights scored four goals in the next 15 minutes, winning the game. Manhattan had a few chances after going down 2-0 but weren’t able to finish them before conceding the others.

“We just lost focus for 10, 15 minutes,” senior Roberto Maysonet Perez said. “Then [then] pass was right there, and we got scored on. That’s just the consequences to losing focus … When we got scored on, we got a little bit frustrated … We’d [have done] better if we were just focusing on the game, trying our best to win back the goal we just lost.”

Wichita Heights went on to win the tournament. 

Manhattan lost their second match of the tournament 2-0 against Wichita East Thursday afternoon. They went down five minutes into the game from a corner and conceded their second goal towards the beginning of the second half. 

“We were coming off of … a 4-0 loss against Heights [but] we played better in [the] game [against Wichita],” Ohler said. “I don’t think that they were a super difficult team to play against, I just think we didn’t play as well as we could have against them.”

In the final round of the tournament on Saturday, MHS played and beat Trinity Academy 3-2. Manhattan was up 1-0 in the first minutes of the game with a goal from Maysonet Perez, followed up by a goal from Ohler with 22 minutes until halftime. Trinity tied back up before the end of the half due to some defensive errors, meaning the second started 2-2. Senior Hunter French scored the winning goal in the 57th minute to make the final score 3-2. 

“I think we will learn from our mistakes and continue to improve,” Head Coach Mike Sanchez said. “I definitely saw that starting to happen in the third game … I’m really proud of the way our … midfielders and our forwards started to step up our last game and hopefully we’ll keep going that direction.” 

Manhattan will take on rivals Junction City away this Thursday where they hope to continue a three-year winning streak.