Yes, it can get chippy when Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit North clash in soccer, and Monday night was no exception.
There were yellow cards – four of them – and one long shoving match that held up the game for several minutes. It was the kind of match where the team that doesn’t lose its head wins.
And on this night, that team would be Lee’s Summit, which rose above the fray to claim a 4-1 victory in a Suburban Gold Conference match at Bronco Stadium.
“It’s a rivalry,” Lee’s Summit coach Dave Wiebenga said. “These two teams are going to go at it every night and hang and bang on each other. It was a tough match.”
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Lee’s Summit, 4-0, had a 2-1 lead in its conference opener when the Tigers’ Nick Froehlich and the Broncos’ A.J. James tangled near the Broncos’ 18-yard box about 15 minutes into the second half. Froehlich grabbed James around the waist, and soon all the Tigers and Broncos were in a tight circle shoving and yelling at each other. No cards were issued, but North did receive a free kick.
About a minute after order was restored, Lee’s Summit forward Riley Wilson took a ball from Caleb Ranney in the box, shouldered North defender Ryan Templeton out of the way and found an empty net when North goalie Colin Dooley ranged off his line.
“It was a lot of adrenalin rushing,” said Wilson, who scored two of the Tigers’ goals. “This was a real test of our composure, but we held it in there.”
Scoring so soon after that scrum, Wiebenga said, showed how well Lee’s Summit handled the charged atmosphere of the match.
“That’s the example that we want,” Wiebenga said. “We want us to just move on and go and play. Little disappointed that we had the little scrum there. It’s not the best way to show it, but the guys are sticking up for each other. But we can’t condone that.”
North coach Ryan Kelley was disappointed by the incident as well, even more so by how the Broncos handled it.
“We allowed it to get to us,” Kelley said. “I don’t know if a lot of it was dirty or anything like that, but in a match like that you’ve got to manage your emotions. That was what took us out of the match.”
Lee’s Summit got its first goal with 14 minutes left in the first half courtesy of Joe Vandenbos, who floated in a bicycle kick while flat on his back just outside the 18-yard box.
“I didn’t even see it,” Wiebenga said. “I look up and I see the ball is 30 yards in the air, and the next thing I know it’s in the back of the net and I was like, ‘What the heck just happened there?’”
North equalized less than four minutes later when Brennon Larsen won a one-on-one with Lee’s Summit goalkeeper Braden Weeks, but the Tigers took the lead for good with Wilson’s first goal, which was set up with a nice give-and-go by Ranney six minutes before halftime.
North would find few opportunities in the second half against a packed-in Tigers defense led by captains Collin Kay and Jordan Johnson and a stellar effort from sophomore Joseph Achugo. Wilson’s second goal put the Tigers in control, and Froehlich bounced a shot in with less than eight minutes left to seal the victory.
“Lee’s Summit played real well tonight,” Kelley said. “They did an excellent job of staying composed through the match. They did a great job in the second half of really taking the game to us.”
The loss was the first for North, which opened its season by taking first place in the Liberty Tournament with a 6-1 victory over Liberty in the final. Larsen scored two goals, and Parker Allen, Mitchell Petersen, Liam Frank and Dasean Ransburg each had goal for the Broncos.