Wednesday night’s nonconference soccer game between Blue Springs and Truman visiting certainly didn’t lack for scoring chances, especially for the host Wildcats.
Missing was the proper finishing touch from either side, until Blue Springs’ Brandon Shipman provided it with just 19:48 to play.
On a play that at first glance didn’t appear as threatening as some other Wildcat possessions, Shipman collected a right-corner pass from Dylan Doss and chipped the ball over Alex Villa inside the far post, scoring the game’s lone goal in the 60th minute as Wildcats emerged from Peve Stadium with a 1-0 victory.
Though it had numerous turnovers in the Truman end, plus some in its backfield in the second half, Blue Springs still peppered the Truman defense with 23 shots, several of them high but 13 of them on goal. Josh Hubner made eight saves in goal for the Wildcats, who improved to 6-12 while dropping the Patriots to 3-15.
“We created a lot of opportunities tonight,” Blue Springs coach Michael Palermo said. “I give a lot of credit to Truman tonight. They packed it in the middle and made us take it wide. The ball came wide for Dylan Doss, he passed it in and Shipman put a nice finish on it.”
“I got the ball wide at about the 30(-yard line), passed it to Dylan and Dylan beat his man,” added Shipman. “The ball kind of popped up (off Doss’ pass); it was a bad settle. I saw the goalie come out, so I just kicked it over him. It felt like it took 10 years to get to the goal.”
Villa was otherwise solid in goal for the Patriots, making 12 saves. He made a dive-ahead stop to beat a streaking forward in the sixth minute, then dived to his left to corral Mitchell Wilhoit’s header off a corner kick in the 35th. Two minutes later the Patriots got a friendly bounce back to Villa off Wilhoit’s shot to the left post.
A couple minutes before Shipman scored, the Wildcats’ Kai Miller appeared to break the deadlock but was called for a handball when Villa’s save of Miller initial shot bounced back to him.
“He kept us in the game and made big stops,” Truman coach Jared Byrne said of Villa. “We’ll give the long shots because we know he’ll be solid back there.
“I thought we came out and played, but as I told the guys, we were playing with fire and giving them too many chances. They might tell you their goal came on their worst chance of the night.”
Hubner maintained the lead with his diving save of Aaron Mendoza’s straight-ahead 20-yarder. His turnover nearly led to a tying goal in the 35th, when Mario Menjivar intercepted a goalie pass to the wing and his crossing pass nearly got deflected in for an own goal but rolled wide.
“These are the games that are hard (for a goalie),” Palermo said. “You’re not seeing too many shots, it’s cold, a shot comes from 20 or 30 yards and you’re not looking for it – you’ve got to be there.
“But anytime you get a zero on the scoreboard it’s a good game. Josh was good, the whole defense was good.”
From the other bench, Byrne sees improvements from his Patriots as the regular season winds down.
“I know the score doesn’t look like it, but we’re playing better,” he said. “We created a lot of chances – just few feet right or left from that ball going in.”
Blue Springs’ junior varsity was a 4-0 winner.