Being a forward, Lee’s Summit West’s Caleb Furnell is supposed to be creating opportunities around the goal. On Monday night, he created two penalty kicks.
Furnell doesn’t try to be a PK magnet, but if can get himself properly placed in the 18-yard box he can make them happen. And that’s just what he did against Raymore-Peculiar, when he took two fouls to set up two penalty kicks in the last six minutes of the first half of West’s 3-0 Suburban Gold Conference victory at Titan Stadium.
“I’m told to get the ball to my feet and then hold off the defenders,” Furnell said. “And if they come in through me and it’s a foul, I’ll take it.”
Furnell was tackled in the box by two Ray-Pec defenders with less than six minutes to go in the first half to set up the first PK, which defender Drew Meara slipped past Ray-Pec goalie Grant Hutchings into the left corner of the net.
Less than four minutes later, Furnell and Ray-Pec defender Wesley Homer collided in the penalty area, and Cole Perry fired his PK into the same corner of the net.
“I think they were the right calls and we put them away,” West head coach Steve Brizendine said. “We had a lot of opportunities and then that’s how it ended up creating a couple of goals from us.”
Ray-Pec coach Kevin Goodman questioned whether the official was in the proper position to make those calls from the center circle. He didn’t like either call, but he also didn’t like the lack of upfield pressure on defense that he said led to both situations.
“We weren’t forceful enough with our defense earlier higher up in the field,” Goodman said. “I think that’s what led to the problem. Officials are always part of the game, but when we start making the officials the reason that we lose, we start to get blinded by what we really need to work on.”
Ray-Pec’s defense was good enough to keep West out of the net until the penalty kicks. West’s defense was equally effective, with goalie Luke Poudel registering several solid saves for the 4-2-1 Titans’ fifth shutout in seven games.
West, 2-0 in Suburban Conference play, made it a 3-0 game seven minutes into the second half when junior midfielder Ben Travalent headed in a corner kick from Perry. Goodman said that goal, combined with the PKs and a knee injury that sidelined midfielder and team captain Logan Mangrum in the first half, proved too much for the Panthers to overcome.
“There was a whirlwind of things, but I think the boys responded well,” Goodman said “They had good character in the beginning of the second half and that third goal just killed us.”
Ray-Pec, 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference, likes to play physical, and the game grew more rough and tumble as the second half wound down. But neither team let things get out of hand and the Titans kept their cool, which pleased Brizendine as much as anything else.
“It got physical, but I’m really proud of the way we handled it,” Brizendine said. “I told them we won the game tonight, but we won in a lot of other aspects tonight. We had a lot of class and I was proud of them.”