Before breaking into the heart of the Eastern Kansas League season, the Blue Valley Southwest boys soccer team is looking to establish a good pattern of play this week at the Olathe North Soccer Tournament at the College Boulevard Activity Center.
The Timberwolves kicked off the tournament with a 4-1 convincing victory over Gardner Edgerton on Monday.
It did not take Southwest long to jump ahead. A string of passes by the Timberwolves midfield resulted in senior Jacob Weaver blasting the ball into the back of the net just one minute into the match.
“It helped us calm down and then we possessed the ball a lot more, and then we got through that first half pretty well,” Weaver said.
It did not stop there, either.
Freshman Dalio Mercado hit a rocket with his left foot from about 20 yards out to extend BV Southwest’s lead to 2-0.
“Dalio’s going to be a big-time player,” Blue Valley Southwest coach Jason Pendleton said. “I think it gives him some confidence, and his teammates responded pretty well.”
The Timberwolves’ third goal of the half was an own goal by Gardner Edgerton, which knocked the ball past their goalkeeper when trying to clear a pass.
For Blue Valley Southwest and the other teams, the tournament features three games in four days — a good test of endurance early in September.
“It’s kind of tiring, but our coach has got us in pretty good shape,” Weaver said. “We’ll probably keep working on it throughout the week.”
Although Gardner Edgerton did not convert any opportunities in the first half, the Trailblazers came out working hard for a goal in the second.
Gardner Edgerton got that chance when awarded a penalty kick. Senior Dakota Steuber, one of the top players for Gardner, kicked home the goal, making it 3-1.
Still, the Timberwolves put the pedal back down in the 73rd minute with a set piece. Senior Jackson Ralston struck a ball into the box, where senior Justin Hicklin flicked the ball with his head for a goal and a 4-1 advantage.
For the Timberwolves, it’s about building toward a strong finish to the week and better mental and physical shape for the heart of their season.
“For us, it’s about minimizing errors and be more consistent in what we’re trying to do,” Pendleton said.
Olathe North 3, SM North 0
In the second game of the night, Olathe North — the host squad to the tournament — showed off some skills of its own, defeating Shawnee Mission North 3-0.
In the first half, both teams had a few opportunities with Olathe North goalkeeper Erik Schuette and SM North keeper Kenny Herron making a few key saves.
But a red card early in the second half left SM North down a man. Olathe North took advantage.
The match’s first goal came by Chris Oetken, who cleaned up a goal near the open net in the 50th minute. Then Brett McDonald finished off a run with another standout finish, giving the Eagles a 2-0 advantage.
Olathe North sealed its 3-0 victory in the 73rd minute, when Anthony chipped the ball over the keeper’s head for the final goal.
The win put the Eagles at 3-0 this season.