After getting socked on the jaw in the opening minutes, Lee’s Summit had to rebuild its confidence — and goal by goal that’s what the Tigers did.
Lee’s Summit smarted after giving up three goals to crosstown rival Lee’s Summit West just 17 minutes into a Suburban Gold Conference contest.
But after bracketing halftime with two quick goals, the Tigers reclaimed their swagger and added two more goals in the second half to finish off a 4-3 comeback victory Monday night at Bud Hertzog Stadium.
“It’s always interesting to see what kind of resiliency a team has,” Lee’s Summit coach Dave Wiebenga said. “Unfortunately, playing from behind is something we’ve been doing lately. I’d like to play from the front a little bit more.”
Lee’s Summit (7-4, 6-1 Suburban Gold) had dropped four of six matches entering the game with West (7-5-1, 3-3 Suburban Gold), and prospects for turning that around didn’t look midway through the first half.
The comeback began with Keenan Johnson, who put a shot inside the far post on a counterattack 55 seconds before halftime.
The Tigers pulled within a goal when forward Caleb Ranney knocked in a header off a cross from Jackson Wood two minutes into the second half.
The equalizer came later in the second half from Nick Froehlich, who scored on a free kick from just outside the penalty box into the upper part of the net.
“It’s like I told (our team) — the first one got us started, the second one gave us hope, and the third one gave us momentum,” Wiebenga said.
Ranney’s second goal gave Lee’s Summit the win.
As Ranney streaked downfield, Tigers defender Erik Holm lofted a perfect ball to him that he punched inside the far post with less than 10 minutes left to play.
“I just turned and put my head down because I saw the goalie was off his line a little bit,” Ranney said.
The second-half outburst stood in stark contrast to the first half for the Tigers, who looked sloppy and disorganized as West came out swinging.
The Titans needed only two minutes to take a 1-0 lead when sophomore defender Drew Meara buried a free kick from 7 yards outside the box into the net.
“I felt like after the first goal we put our heads down,” Ranney said. “And at that point it was how many are they going to get, how are we going to bounce back? But I think we did a good job.”
West’s next two goals came just over a minute apart midway through the half.
Caleb Furnell fired into an open net after sophomore Trey Backues drew out Lee’s Summit goalie Jackson Wells and the Titans’ lead grew to 3-0 when Lucas McEwen knocked in a rebound off another free kick from Meara.
“I was disappointed in the start,” Wiebenga said. “We know better. We can’t come out like that. (West coach) Chris Brizendine is a good coach and he had his boys ready. We were flat.”
West has been struggling to finish scoring opportunities lately, so Brizendine was pleased with the Titans’ fast start, but Lee’s Summit was still getting some nice looks at the goal before Johnson broke through.
Brizendine knew the Tigers had the firepower to get back in the game.
“It was coming in the first half,” Brizendine said. “They’re a good team, strong all over. They just wore us down, I think.”