Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit West already knew they would meet again Monday with the start of boys’ soccer district play, rendering the regular-season matchup between the Tigers and Titans seemed somewhat meaningless.
Except that it wasn’t.
Lee’s Summit still had a Suburban Gold Conference championship to secure — and the Tigers also wanted a win for their missing head coach.
When Caleb Ranney scored with less than two minutes left in overtime, lifting the Tigers to a 2-1 victory at Titans Stadium, the outpouring of emotion proved this was no exhibition.
“That’s a big deal for us,” Lee’s Summit assistant coach Paul Hawkins said. “That’s the first goal of the season to win conference. We also want them to understand that playing high school soccer is a privilege. We’re not going to take any games off or act like it’s not important.”
Lee’s Summit (11-7, 10-2 Suburban Gold) — which played without head coach Dave Wiebenga, who left earlier in the day for Iowa to be with his ailing father — is guaranteed at least a share of the conference title with its victory against West (9-12-1, 5-7 Suburban Gold).
It all made for a swirl of emotions for the Tigers, who bogged down after getting a breakaway goal from forward Keenan Johnson during the first minute.
West equalized less than seven minutes later when Cole Perry tapped in a free kick from just outside of the penalty box by Caleb Furnell then took a 2-1 lead on Lucas McEwen’s blast into the upper corner of the net.
“They’re high school kids and, with coach not being there, they’re emotional,” Hawkins said. “And they’ve been emotional since they heard he wasn’t going to be here. They were pretty geeked up to try to win one for the coach. I think that wore off and it took a little while to get back to where we need to be.”
Lee’s Summit kicked up the pressure in the second half and forged a 2-2 tie when Ian Shores scored off a corner kick by Nick Froehlich.
As the first overtime period drew to a close, Ranney got his foot on 20-yard free kick from Zach Froehlich in front of the goal and knocked in the game-winner.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Ranney said. “Zach gave a great ball and all I had to do was tap it in.”
West lost both its matches against Lee’s Summit this season, both times by one goal.
Titans coach Chris Brizendine expects Monday’s rematch during the semifinals of the Class 4, District 12 tournament at Lee’s Summit North to be another nail-biter.
The Titans and Tigers play at 5 p.m. followed by Lee’s Summit North (14-8) against Raymore-Peculiar (12-7) at 6:30.
“We’re going to be ready,” Brizendine said. “We want to play our best at the end of the year, and I think we were close to that tonight.”