Senior midfielder Korby Ring has arguably been the most consistent player on offense for the Truman boys soccer team.
That’s part of the reason Patriots head coach Manny Tovar wants to get him the ball as much as possible.
“I think he gets lost at times when he doesn’t have the ball,” Tovar said. “We just have to make sure he stays involved as we move forward to Thursday. We have to make sure that he gets the ball enough times. Not only does he score, he creates chances for everyone.”
That’s exactly what Ring did Tuesday. He scored two goals and assisted on the other goal in a 3-1 victory over crosstown rival William Chrisman in a Class 4 District 14 semifinal Tuesday at Raytown High School’s Ted Chittwood Stadium.
Truman (9-13) will play the top-seeded Rockhurst Hawklets, who defeated Raytown 3-0 in the other semifinal, for the district title at 5 p.m. Thursday.
“Last year, they were unbelievable,” Tovar said of Rockhurst. “They were big, technical and moved the ball fast. From what I’ve heard from other coaches, they are not as strong as they were in the past. But they are still well coached. (Rockhurst head coach) Chris Lawson does a good job with them.”
Ring, the Patriots’ leading scorer this season, notched the first goal midway through the first half. Junior midfielder Jose Calderon ran along the right sideline near the corner kick flag and sent a perfect cross in front of the goal. Ring made a good run toward the goal and knocked in a header for a 1-0 edge.
“That was ridiculous. That was a tough angle,” Ring said of Calderon’s cross.
Moments later, Truman senior midfielder Andre Guzman just missed a close-range shot that ricocheted off the left post. The ball bounced backward toward Calderon near the top of the 18-yard box. Calderon blasted a shot into the back of the net, but a foul was called, erasing the goal.
Late in the first half, Ring dribbled the ball to the top of the penalty box and had a one-on-one opportunity with Chrisman freshman goalkeeper Javier Ortiz-Merino. Ring lobbed a shot over him and into an empty goal for a 2-0 lead.
Ortiz-Merino and Ring collided on the play and Ring was on the ground writhing in pain, holding his right leg. After about a minute, he was able to get up and continue playing.
“The goalie came out and it was one of those where they hit simultaneously,” Tovar said. “It’s always a scary thing. He just got a little cleat mark on him, so that was the good part of it.”
Truman needed him in the second half, as Ring proved to be the difference maker. After Truman committed a foul in its own penalty box, Chrisman senior forward Braxton Saye set up for a penalty kick. He faked the shot to his right and blasted one inside the left post to cut the lead to 2-1.
However, in the 61st minute, Ring helped put the game way. He was one-on-one with a Chrisman defender, he flipped a forward pass to Guzman, who slipped a shot past Chrisman’s other goalkeeper, Brandon Kuhlman, for a 3-1 lead.
“I really wanted to shoot it,” Ring said, “but right when I was about to hit it, I saw (the goalkeeper) come in. I just knew I had to get (Andre) one because he got me the ball earlier.”
The win was a special one for Guzman and Ring. The senior duo finished their careers undefeated against their rivals.
“It feels good for sure,” Guzman said. “It feels good to cap off our career to finish undefeated against them. Now it’s time to move forward. We have Rockhurst.”
For Chrisman coach John Straub, it was an end to solid season. His team finished with an 11-11 record and Straub will say goodbye to 10 seniors.
“We got a great group of boys, and 10 seniors who’ve had a huge impact on our program,” Straub said. “They really helped build the foundation for next season.”