Soccer finishes with a third place win

Jonah Evarts, Sports Editor

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Senior defender Josh Bussmann shows off his touch as he stops the ball and brings it towards him. The Indians were setting up for an offensive strike late in the game against Blue Valley West.

The Manhattan High boys soccer team was crushed after losing to Blue Valley West 1-0 this past Friday, as it ended their run to a state championship game. The boys didn’t let that stop them from coming back the next day to defeat Dodge City 3-0 and secure third place to end on a win.

 

After Blue Valley scored in the first half it looked like an easy hill to climb back into the game, but the shots would not fall. There were some very close calls; a shot from senior Nate Awbrey almost got them back in the game early on. Blue Valley contained a surge on offense in the last minutes of the game, sealing a win. With the loss, the boys were kicked out of contention for the state title, and were to play for third place the next day.

“We were all devastated at the result,” senior Ben Choi said. “We’d all been chasing that one goal, to win state,”

The team went home and recuperated, ready to play the next day despite it not being in the game they hoped for.

“Either way, like if we were to win, this still feels great,” junior Max Lansdowne said. “We still had a crazy season, so no matter what happened, we knew going in that we were going to be happy. It’s great to end on a win though, so it still feels good.”

Senior striker Modou Faburay races up the sideline in attempt to beat the Blue Valley Defender. Faburay was one of the team’s leading scorers helping them to their record-breaking season.

They looked like a different team against Dodge City, controlling the ebb and flow of the game throughout all 90 minutes. Lockdown defense prevented Dodge from getting any clean looks for a majority of the first half. A goal from Awbrey early on off of a penalty kick, a goal tapped in by Lansdowne, and a shot from senior Dylan Thomas put them far enough ahead that Dodge would be unable to come back and make the game close. Senior Manny Diaz played goalie for the team’s final game, and didn’t allow a single ball in the net.

 

There was a lot more to the game than just a third place finish for most of the team: it was their last chance to play soccer in high school.

“There was a lot of lasts [this weekend],” senior Zac Bergeron said. “Our last team meal together and all that, so it was pretty emotional, but it’s been a good ride.”

Senior goalie Zach Bergeron prepares for the start of the second half. Bergeron was the team’s goalie throughout the year, helping the team have a record number of shutouts this season.

A team that set so many records has had an impressive season set in the books, but it was never something they doubted they could do.

“[We believed in ourselves] since the beginning,” Bergeron said. “The coaches have been telling us all season, you know, we have the capability to be great.”

A third place finish at state isn’t exactly a picture perfect ending to the fairy-tale season, but it did nothing to damper the spirits of the successes the team looks back on.

“We would have liked to win [against Blue Valley West],” senior Modou Faburay said, “but third place isn’t bad.”

They’ll walk away from the weekend with a plaque to celebrate their accomplishment: finishing third in the 6A state tournament as the one seed.

Senior midfielder Ben Choi prepares to throw the ball in early in the first half of their semi-final game against Blue Valley West.

“This is a big deal,” Choi said. “My friends and teammates, they just did such a good job at doing what they’re supposed to do and leaving it all out on the field. I’m really proud of them.”

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Soccer finishes with a third place win