As bright as Harrisonville’s start was during the Class 3 state tournament on Friday, Nov. 10, it faded away just as quickly.
Playing a man up during the first half, the Wildcats scored a pair of goals, but they gave up a lead with 7 seconds left and, ultimately, were eclipsed 4-3 in overtime by Washington in the satte semifinals at the St. Louis Soccer Park.
Harrisonville (25-5) suffered the same fate in the consolation match the next day.
The Wildcats couldn’t make an early lead stick and fell 3-2 against Republic, finishing fourth at their first state tournament appearance.
After the semifinal loss, Harrisonville senior forward Seth Wiebusch, who tallied both goals, said that the team didn’t maintain its intensity and it proved costly.
“I think we kind of sat back on the lead,” Wiebusch said. “We were, ‘We’re 2-0 up, it’s done,’ we thought. That’s what we had in our mind and we just took it for granted. Washington made the best out of that.”
After a Washington red card in the 21st minute, Wiebusch continued his personal takeover.
He had scored his 39th goal of the season during the seventh minute off an assist from junior forward Connor Blentlinger and added another goal with a near-perfect free kick, which made it 2-0 in the 34th minute.
“Coming down here, it’s a blessing, a privilege,” Wiebusch said. “I think I put everything I had into this. I’m just proud of the boys, proud of the team for what they did.”
Washington fought back. Blue Jays senior forward Conlan Jarvis scored just about two minutes after Wiebusch’s second goal, cutting the lead in half going into halftime.
A few minutes into the second half, Washington junior defender Jeremiah Collins found the equalizer and the tension ratcheted up from there.
Harrisonville coach Dan Coleman put things simply: “This game was a little bit crazy. Their speed and athleticism was a handful. Ultimately, that was the difference. The pressure they brought was tough.”
Each team added one more goal in regulation.
First, with just under 16 minutes to play, Blentlinger ripped the ball from roughly 18 yards out for a short-lived 3-2 Wildcats lead.
Trailing and with one last gasp, Washington junior defender Jeremiah Collins pushed forward and knocked home the equalizer before regulation time ended.
“The defender messed up and I saw my chance and took it right past him,” Collins said. “The goalie came out and I slid it right between him and the post.”
The decisive goal came with 10 minutes left in the second overtime.
Jarvis pushed forward and beat a defender and Harrisonville junior keeper Brody Pitts, ending the game.
“It was a missed clearance; it was just sitting there,” said Jarvis of his opportunity. “The goalie came out and I just did everything I could to get my foot on it. This is just amazing, I can’t believe it.”
Coleman said he was pleased with the overall effort put in by the Wildcats. He said that the team didn’t perform like a team playing its first game in a state-level contest.
“The boys came in focused,” Coleman said. “Big players perform in big situations. Seth is that type of player for us. I expect nothing less from him. Again, their speed was something we had to deal with and they made things tough.”
Harrisonville appeared focused at the start of the consolation match.
The Wildcats jumped out to a two-goal lead as Wiebusch tallied a first-half penalty kick goal before Blentlinger scored early in the second half.
Republic (24-5) scored three consecutive goals from there as senior forward Dylan Brown scored twice, including the game-winner, and senior midfielder Trenton Roetto added a penalty kick goal.
Pitts made six saves for the Wildcats in the defeat.