Truman didn’t waste much time scoring against crosstown rival William Chrisman.
In fact, the Patriots unleashed a four-goal scoring barrage in a first half that saw their offense get behind the Bears defense for many breakaways and open shots during a 4-1 non-conference victory Tuesday at Independence All-School Stadium.
This outburst was a welcome sight for Truman coach Manny Tovar. It came after some offensive struggles in Truman’s first three games.
“We’ve been working on attacking a lot,” Tovar said. “We’ve had trouble putting the ball in the back of the net the last three games. They did a good job moving off the ball and making diagonal runs. Everyone attacking-wise did really great.”
Because of some precision passing and aggressive play in the first 40 minutes, Truman took an early 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes.
One of those struggling for Truman early in the season was senior forward Nate Hedrick. He put an end to those struggles just 2 minutes, 5 seconds into the game. Raul Romero sent a long pass from midfield to Austin Montoya, who sent a nice cross to Hedrick, who buried an open shot deep in the penalty box for the first score.
With 17:18 left in the first half, he notched the team’s third goal when he got a lob pass from Juan Gonzalez that landed near the top of the penalty box. Chrisman goalkeeper Brandon Kuhlman came out to challenge Hedrick, but the Truman senior tried to head the ball over him, which Kuhlman got his fingertips on. With the Bears goalie on the ground, Hedrick followed the bouncing ball with another header for his second score.
Hedrick nearly got a had a hat trick but one open shot just went over the goal and a couple of breakaway opportunities were broken up by a single Chrisman defender.
“Those were some really great passes from my teammates and I wouldn’t have been able to score without them,” Hedrick said. “Our coach preached to us to get behind the defense and make good runs.”
Sandwiched in between his goals was an unassisted score from Romero, who dribbled the ball toward the Chrisman goal from 35 yards out, got around one defender, juked another and booted one past Kuhlman.
“I just managed to put the ball into an open space and finish,” Romero said.
Although the Patriots (3-1) had the scoring outburst, Chrisman may have had the most impressive goal of the night. It was mostly because of the player who dished out the assist – freshman Wyatt Luetzinger. He dribbled the ball along the right sideline, sprinted 50 yards with the ball, raced passed two defenders, leaped over a fallen player and sent a cross to Zane Brande at the left post for a score to make it 3-1.
“Today was Wyatt’s first game of the year,” Chrisman coach John Straub said. “As a freshman, one of the things that caught our attention was his ability to go forward as a defender. He did a great job there.”
Truman’s Mason Andrales capped the scoring when he received a long pass from Jose Calderon. His initial breakaway shot blocked by Kuhlman but he was able to follow the ball and put it in a wide-open net for a huge cushion.
“Jose played a ball out of the back and Mason was able to go one-on-one with the goalie,” Tovar said. “He kind of got lucky there. The goalie made the save but bounced it back to Mason.”
Added Straub: “Truman did a great job getting the ball behind our defensive line. Not only that, but they did a great job attacking the far side. That was a little bit of inexperience on our part.”
Hedrick and Romero felt good about the the Patriots’ efforts after some struggles in the first few games. Truman held a 9-1 advantage in shots on goal.
“We started off a little rocky, definitely not the way we wanted to start (the season),” Hedrick said. “We’re getting there and getting better.”
Two players from Chrisman appeared to suffer head injuries during the game. Cody Lien was taken out of the game after colliding with a Truman player in the first half, and Tom Beem was carted off by paramedics and taken to a nearby hospital in the second half.