Blue Springs South boys soccer Jon Grice saw his team play 80 minutes of good soccer during Monday night’s 3-0 road win over crosstown rival Blue Springs.
His Blue Springs counterpart, Michael Palermo, saw his team play good soccer for about a tenth of the time South did.
In playing “a complete game,” the Jaguars (12-6-1 overall, 6-1 Suburban Big Six) had their attack working and squelched Blue Springs’ attack, Grice said.
“They’re dangerous (offensively),” Grice said of the Wildcats. “They run numbers through. (Forward) Kai Miller’s very dangerous up top, and they’re well-coached. So when you can keep them out of the net, that’s a big deal.”
“I was proud of our effort and proud of the kids tonight,” he added.
By contrast, the Wildcats (5-12, 1-8) played well until South midfielder Jacob Gowan scored in the 13th minute, Palermo said. After that, the Wildcats “kind of started to go back to some things that we do – some bad habits,” he said.
“We stopped playing as a team, as a unit,” Palermo said. “We lost our shape – things that we’ve worked on all year, like our defensive shape and helping each other, supporting each other. We kind of go away from that when we find ourselves down, and it kind of just went downhill from there.”
Sparked by Gowan’s goal, the Jaguars continued attacking.
“I think, in any soccer game, once the first goal’s scored, it kind of gives you momentum to just keep going, push the other team back,” Gowan said.
The Jaguars built on that momentum in the 35th minute, when Jason Ingram put in a long, low shot into the far corner. Then, Bryce Childers finished a Kyle Findley free kick in the 55th minute.
“He (Findley) told me to just kind of go in,” Childers said. “And I went in. Sure enough, he just chipped it right to my head and I put it in the goal.”
With the victory, the Jaguars gave South goalkeeper Nick Shafer his second shutout this season. They also swept the Wildcats in conference play. They won the first meeting 5-1 on Sept. 25 at South.
“To lose to the crosstown rivals – and to lose to them twice in one season – is rough,” Palermo said. “I feel for the boys. I can handle it, but I know it hurts those guys ... (because of) the work they put in and stuff. … It just didn’t go their way this year.”
Palermo congratulated Grice and the Jaguars.
“He’s put together a pretty good team this year,” he said. “They come out and play for 80 minutes.”