This is the 21st year for Blue Valley Northwest to be the host school for its four-team boys soccer round-robin Top Dawg Tournament at the Blue Valley District Activities Complex.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
The Kansas City Star
Now, with victories in their first two tournament games, the Huskies are one step away from their first championship in their Top Dawg Tournament. They face Blue Valley North at 5 p.m. on Wednesday with the tournament title one victory away. They defeated Rockhurst 2-1 last Wednesday and came from behind Monday evening to edge St. Thomas Aquinas 2-1 in the first 10-minute sudden death overtime evening.
Against Aquinas on Monday, BV Northwest trailed the Saints 1-0 at halftime. The Huskies didn’t even have a shot on goal in the first half.
BV Northwest tied the game with 13 minutes, 23 seconds left in regulation and got the game-winner with 7:50 left in the overtime period. The victory improved the Huskies record to 5-1-1.
The Saints had scored on a goal by sophomore Tyler Stoecklein with 23:15 left in the first half. A shot by an Aquinas player bounced off a Husky defender to Stoecklein about 20 yards from the goal. His shot beat Husky senior keeper Michael Otto.
Aquinas had a 4-0 advantage in shots on goal in the first 40 minutes.
“We didn’t play effective soccer in the first half,” BV Northwest coach Rick Pribyl said. “We let them take us out of our game.”
Senior keeper Michael Otto said, “We knew we had to come out strong in the second half. We needed faster transitions, get rid of the ball and get it down the field.”
Pribyl’s half-time advice was, “I told them to get back to our game. We wanted to have the ball on the ground. They had outplayed us in the first half.”
The Huskies didn’t have a shot on goal until there was 15:37 left in regulation. The tying goal came on a breakaway two minutes later.
“I came down the left side and used my body to go to right of the defender and tapped it in,” junior Trevor Kerns said.
The game-winner came suddenly in overtime before three minutes had expired.
“(Sophomore) Peyton Brown had the throw-in,” senior Sam Taylor said. “(Junior) Jake DeJulio missed it, and I placed it in the back side of the net. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Rockhurst and Aquinas meet in the second game on Wednesday after the BV Northwest-BV North game. For Rockhurst and Aquinas, it's their annual match that usually draws a standing room only crowd.
BV North and Aquinas play at noon Saturday to complete the round robin.
BV North and BV Northwest played to a 1-1 tie in the first match of the season, a non-league game.
Senior defender Brody Southwell said, “We’ve never won this tournament. It is more rare than a state championship. We (against BV North) have to mark our man in the air.”
Pribyl said, “We have to play better than we did tonight. BV North is an extremely talented team.”
The victory improved BV Northwest to 2-0 in East Kansas League play. Aquinas is 2-2-2 on the season and 1-1 in league play.