To get to the rematch it’s been waiting for since last October, Truman had to take care of business Monday.
The Patriots defeated Raytown for the fourth time this season, this time 2-0 in the first round of the Class 4 District 13 tournament at Rockhurst, to set up another shot at the top-seeded Hawklets in Thursday's final.
“We wanted to get through tonight and advance without any injuries, but we had two guys get hurt so this was kind of a pricey win,” Patriots coach Manny Tovar said. “That’s a bit of bad luck, but hopefully people will step up and be able to contribute on Thursday.”
The district championship match marks a rematch from last year’s thrilling contest that saw Truman come up short in a 4-3 loss.
It’s a nothing-to-lose-scenario for the Patriots against the defending Class 4 state runner-up and No. 2 team in the coaches state poll.
“It was the same situation last year,” Tovar said. “I think they kind of know who we are. They’ve scouted us a few times and I think they know we’re not someone who just rolls over.”
Though the scoreboard doesn’t show it, Truman (15-7) enters Thursday coming off an impressive performance.
The Patriots controlled the match from start to finish, outshot Raytown 12-2 and would have tallied plenty of more goals if not for some outstanding saves by Blue Jays goalkeeper Myles Smith.
Both of Truman’s goals came during a 10-minute stretch midway through the first half.
Junior Andre Guzman ran onto a long pass down the field from Raul Romero and beat Smith to the ball at the top of the box to chip it into the goal.
A few minutes later, Nate Hedrick headed home an impressive cross from Mason Adrales for the insurance score.
“I saw Mason carrying the ball down the field, he looked up, I raised my hand, and he provided a nice pass,” Hedrick said. “I noticed (Smith) was coming toward the near post so I just powered it toward the far post.”
Hedrick and Truman goalie Josh Cruz, two of 10 Patriots seniors, said their team knows what Thursday’s chance represents.
“Our main focus this season has been getting back to this game,” Hedrick said.
Added Cruz: “We’ll treat it like business. We’ll have to be mentally strong, keep playing our game and have fun. We’ll be more aggressive and play more our style than we were today. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”