Van Horn has completely had to change the way it’s played this season following season-ending injuries to Karli Schnakenberg and last year’s leading goal scorer, Gracie Ankrom.
Those injuries forced the Falcons to play a more defensive-oriented style of soccer. That was apparent against Lone Jack in pool play of the Kansas City Cup tournament. The Mules dominated possession throughout and kept Van Horn horn from advancing to the semifinals with a 3-0 win Wednesday at Van Horn High School.
“We are down to a different style of soccer,” Van Horn coach Matt Tracy said. “We try to put a lot of possession out there. I am proud of our defense because they don’t get past them. But tonight a couple did.
“We usually try to possess the ball to run the other team down more than they can run us down. It doesn’t always work.”
Since losing two of their best scorers, the Falcons (8-8) have leaned heavily on Gloria Guerrero to carry the offensive load. She had a couple of opportunities on direct free kicks Wednesday, both of which nearly escaped the grasp of Lone Jack keeper Tara Conrad. Other than those attempts, the Falcons didn’t find much in the way of quality shot attempts.
Lone Jack held a 20-5 advantage in shots and created chance after chance as it spent the majority of its time on Van Horn’s side of the field. The score could have been even more in the Mules’ favor if four of their shots hadn’t bounced off the crossbar or the posts.
After missing out on a few good chances early in the game, Kayda Kamolz finally put one in the back of the net. With a Van Horn defender beside her, she drilled a sliding kick inside the left post off an assist from Kennedy Hurlock in the 31st minute.
In the 55th minute, Kamolz scored again. Kennedy Hurlock finished off the scoring with a perfect shot inside the left post as the duo has combined for 44 goals on the season.
‘They have a lot of talent up top,” Tracy said. “I was happy that we ended the first half only giving up one goal. You can see their girls had a lot of skill. I have a solid keeper back there and they got behind her.”
One bright spot for the Falcons was the play of goalkeeper Dasiah Tatum, who had nine saves.
“She always plays good,” Tracy said. “She comes out well and controls the box well. I am happy with what she did.”