What came around Monday to Van Horn’s boys soccer team went around Wednesday at Independence All-School Stadium/Norman James Field.
The Falcons, a super-early victim earlier in the week at Maranatha Academy in Kansas, got a goal from Avi Lopez less than a minute into its game at William Chrisman, the springboard for what became a hat trick for Lopez and a 4-0 nonconference win for the Falcons.
A breakaway by Carlos Cubas led to a Van Horn corner kick, which it short-kicked for a better-angle feed toward the goal. Lopez got the ball at the corner of the 6-yard box and his shot beat Chrisman goalkeeper Andrew Wayman for a 1-0 advantage.
While not necessarily that quick or in that fashion, it was the type of quick start Van Horn coach Greg Millick said he hoped to see.
“That was the one we were looking for,” he said after his team improved to 7-9-1. “We got burned Monday at Maranatha; they scored in eight seconds. It was nice to be on the other end. That was a big boost.
“Once we get the first goal, it opens up the floodgates and we seem to go. Scoring a goal very early is good for us.”
Lopez struck again in the 14th minute, skipping a near-30-yard strike from straight-away past Wayman.
“We had the midfield controlled pretty good tonight,” said Lopez, a senior midfielder. “As soon as I saw the ball coming in, I knew I had to chest it down. The 30-yard line, that’s where I most love to shoot. I was wanting to shoot it low so it couldn’t end up as a goal kick.”
Max Torres made it a 3-0 halftime lead in the 36th minute, scoring from short range after a Falcons corner kick and a high deflection.
That was plenty of cushion for the Falcons, who even before sagging back more in the second half were keeping the Bears (4-9) from getting many quality chances and making first-year keeper Blair Fink fret too much. Chrisman got off just six shots all game, none of them on goal.
By contrast, the Falcons took 22 shots, 12 of them on goal.
“Van Horn did a great job starting tonight with a lot of energy and putting pressure on us,” said Chrisman coach John Straub, whose team beat the Falcons 2-1 earlier this season. “You could tell by the beginning of the game Van Horn was looking forward to the rematch.
“Outworked them,” he added, explaining the difference between the first meeting and Wednesday. “Last time we had more energy.”
Chrisman’s best scoring chance came in the 32nd, but it couldn’t convert a prolonged scramble off a corner kick.
Jon Sartin handled goalkeeper duties in the second half for Chrisman, and some close-range saves by him and defender Ben Gilliland, not to mention some close-range misfires, kept the Falcons off the board until Lopez scored from 10 yards out in the 74th minute after a missed header.
Millick said he was pleased with how his defenders stayed strong, particularly Christian Marquez, who missed most of last season with a broken leg.
“The first game they pressed us really high,” he said. “I’m not sure if they did today, but today our back line seemed OK with it.”
“Christian Marquez, that’s his best game of the year. We’ve been waiting for his breakout game, and tonight was his night.”
PARK HILL 3, TRUMAN 0: Blake Barnard scored twice and Chris Zdvorak once for the visiting Park Hill Trojans in a Suburban Middle Six matchup Wednesday.
Zdvorak struck in the 14th minute and Barnard two minutes later for Park Hill. Barnard's second goal came in the 47th minute.
"I know the score doesn't reflect it, but we looked like a good soccer team tonight," Truman coach Jared Byrne said after his team fell to 2-13. "I'm proud of how we played. We defended well and created a bunch of quality chances against a good opponent. Our problem tonight was three simple defensive mistakes and not finishing our chances."
The Patriots managed six shots on goal, and keeper Alex Villa made 14 saves.