As he peered into the future of Harrisonville boys soccer, coach Dan Coleman could see this would be a big season for the Wildcats.
Coleman knew he’d have a solid and seasoned group of seniors, many of whom had competed together for years, blended with a talented crop of underclassmen. So far, it has all come together just as he expected.
“It’s definitely been a work in progress over the last two to three years,” Coleman said. “Just knowing that nucleus was there of experienced, talented and skillful players and with the youth movement coming in. And just how that all could potentially come together was pretty exciting.”
It’s all blended together into a Wildcats team that boasted a 21-2 record entering Thursday’s game at Excelsior Springs. That includes a 19-match win streak, which ended Oct. 13 at Rolla.
“We’re a cohesive team,” Harrisonville striker Seth Wiebusch said. “Every player works for each other, we all trust each other, we all have team chemistry, and I think overall everyone just likes each other and we all get along.”
Wiebusch is one of 11 seniors for the Wildcats, eight of whom start. Many of them, and some of the underclassmen as well, have played together for almost a decade at various levels of soccer.
“Our chemistry is very strong together, and we’ve played together for a very long time,” said Connor Blentlinger, a junior striker for the Wildcats. “And that really helps.”
The cohesion and chemistry have built trust, Coleman said, and that’s built the Wildcats into a high-pressure, attacking squad. Led by Blentlinger’s 41 goals and Wiebusch’s 35, the Wildcats’ aggressive offense has allowed them to outscore their opponents 97-19.
That pressure also translates to the defense, where junior goalkeeper Brody Pitts has recorded 13 shutouts.
“It’s just all of those intangibles coming together at the right time,” Coleman said, “Our style has allowed us to put pressure on opposing teams and, sticking to that style and being disciplined, has been a key.”
It took only one match before Coleman started to see it all come together.
Harrisonville opened the season with a 7-3 loss Aug. 18 against Smith-Cotton High from Sedalia, but the Wildcats didn’t lose again until falling against Rolla on penalty kicks.
The 19 victories in between included a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Class 4 power Blue Springs South, a 4-2 win against 2016 Class 3 state runner-up Carthage, and intense victories against Missouri River Valley Conference West rivals Oak Grove and Grain Valley.
“It was obviously very exciting to be on a winning streak like that,” Coleman said. “But we don’t want to put a lot of stock in that. We’re more about taking it one game at a time and focusing on our playing our style and doing our thing and staying disciplined.”
Harrisonville hopes to keep its new win streak rolling through the Class 3, District 14 tournament next week in Belton.
The top-seeded Wildcats face Grandview at 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23, with the winner advancing to play the winner between No. 2 seed Raytown South and No. 3 seed Belton in the district final on Oct. 25.
Harrisonville hopes to capture its first district title since 2013. The Wildcats have lost to Belton in the district final each of the last three seasons.
“That’s definitely on my mind right now, to get that district championship,” Wiebusch said. “We’ve been cut off there every year.”
This year could be different, Coleman believes.
Of course, he felt that way well before the season began.
“It’s just a matter of putting it together for 80 minutes on the right night,” Coleman said. “Is it possible? Absolutely. This team has the possibility of doing some very special things.”