Injuries don’t slow Wildcats down in win over Eudora
Louisburg goalie Thomas Arnett goes in for a save against Spring Hill last Tuesday in Louisburg. Arnett made a save on a penalty kick Thursday at Eudora to help give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory to snap a six-game losing streak.
EUDORA – The injury bug has bitten the Louisburg High School boys soccer team hard in recent weeks and it has left the Wildcats a little undermanned.
Those injuries have taken their toll on the Wildcats as they entered Thursday’s road match against Eudora on a six-game losing streak.
Louisburg was without five varsity players against the Cardinals, and then later lost another to an injury in game. It wasn’t the ideal situation for the Wildcats, but they didn’t let those losses get to them as they scored a second half goal and played strong in the back to pull out a 1-0 win against Eudora.
Not only did Louisburg break its losing streak, but also its string of bad luck.
“I felt the boys have been playing good soccer the past couple games, but we weren’t having any luck,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “With four to six varsity players out the past couple weeks or so, we have been playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores as the next man up. The experience is paying massive dividends in their growth and development, but we have some growing pains.
“I thought we played well against Eudora, and the boys handled wherever I put them. They had a great mindset and played as a team. Our boys play really hard and we were able to grind out a positive result.”
After a scoreless first half, the Wildcats (5-7) found the back of the net early in the second. Senior Brock Bila revived the Louisburg offense with a shot that sailed past the Eudora goalie, on what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
“We have been preaching to our boys to get more shots to put pressure on our opponents,” Conley said. “Brock got a clear look and hit it. I think their goalkeeper wasn’t ready and Brock took advantage.”
Following the goal, the Wildcat defense faced a lot of pressure from the Eudora attack and got their biggest test when Eudora was awarded a penalty kick with 19 minutes left in the match.
Louisburg goalie Thomas Arnett read the Cardinal kick well and recorded one of his many saves on the night to preserve the lead for the Wildcats.
“Thomas was ready and prepped,” Conley said. “Coach (Michael) Pickman worked on penalty kicks recently with him and the extra training paid off as Thomas made a great save.
“Defensively we played well and kept it together. We defended the last 9-12 minutes like our lives depended on it. They pushed everyone forward and we held our ground.”
The win was a nice pick-me-up for the Wildcats as they lost a tough 1-0 match to Spring Hill last Tuesday at home.
Even with all the setbacks and injuries, the team has kept their head up and are looking forward to a strong finish to the season.
Louisburg will try and make it two straight wins tonight when it travels to Paola for a 5 p.m. matchup. The Wildcats will then host Basehor-Linwood this Tuesday in what is a make-up contest from earlier in the season.
“The boys keep showing up and giving it their all,” Conley said. “I love this team’s blue collar attitude and how they never make excuses. We are about to get healthy and I think we could make some noise in the playoffs.”