Boys soccer earns narrow win at last game of the season

Kris Long, Opinions Editor

Manhattan High boys Varsity soccer squeaked out a win against Shawnee Heights 6-5 on Oct. 24 in a back-and-forth match to close the season.

Shawnee Heights is one of Manhattan’s more competitive opponents, with a win of just 1-0 against them last season. Heights came into the match with a better record than MHS (13-2) and were expected to be a challenge.

According to head coach Mike Sanchez the team came out strong. Senior Hunter French put them on the board from a header just two minutes in, with an assist from senior Carter Wiens. Sophomore Ibrahim Ciftci followed it up nine minutes later to make it 2-0. MHS conceded a goal to Shawnee further on in the half, then French scored again to put them up 3-1 — beating his previous record of 28 goals in a season — with fifteen minutes until the whistle. After being taken down in the box, French converted the penalty he earned to make it a 3 goal lead and to complete his third consecutive hat trick. Then with just a minute to go in the first half Manhattan conceded another goal from Heights, ending the half 4-2.

“I think we played well in the first half,” Ciftci said. “It’s just small mistakes that we have to improve upon because the goals we conceded mostly were on small mistakes, that’s something we have to improve or else we won’t go too far in the postseason.”

At the beginning of the second half MHS gave up another goal. Then, with 27 minutes left in the half junior Gabe Effiong put them 5-3 off of a corner kick, but Shawnee came right back to make it 5-4 just minutes later. Shawnee tied it up 5-5 with 18 minutes left in the match. Wiens then earned the second PK of the match with ten minutes left and converted it to score the winning goal of the game, ending it 6-5. 

“We were up 4-1 and we gave that up, but we never quit and we kept fighting and that’s what won us the game,” Wiens said.

Manhattan hasn’t conceded five goals in one match since the 2016 season, and have never won a game in which they conceded five goals since they began recording scores in 2012. 

“A win’s a win … so I’m happy [with the result],” Ciftci said. “But I believe in the second half we let loose a little … our defensive effort could have been better as a team.” 

Manhattan goes into the postseason playing Haysville Campus High today at home in the first round of regionals, then will play the winner of the first v. 16th seed match away on Thursday. 

MHS are eighth seed, due to an unfortunate start to the season. After losing five of their first nine games Manhattan has come back with a six-game winning streak to make their record 10-5, still not good enough to play both regional games at home. 

“A lot of things could have been different if we had of taken some games that were winnable earlier in the year, we could have been anywhere from third to first seed,”  Sanchez said. “But that’s kind of how the game is, [we have to] capitalize on those opportunities … [we can’t] let them slip by.”