Sure, the comeback was nice. Downright impressive, really. Something William Chrisman’s soccer team could point to with pride.
Except that the Bears came up short, again.
Chrisman could find some solace in its second-half rally Tuesday night against Raytown. After coughing up three goals during a lethargic first half, the Bears came to life in the second half but still lost 3-2 in a Suburban Middle Seven match at Raytown’s Ted Chittwood Stadium.
It was the eighth straight loss for Chrisman, which fell to 2-8 overall and 0-4 in conference. Worse, each one of those eight losses has been by one goal.
So even after flipping the script in the second half with two goals from senior midfielder Tanner Jolley, more aggressive play up front and the benefits of a stiff tailwind, the Bears weren’t exactly celebrating.
“We just need to find that win to get us back on track,” Chrisman coach John Straub said. “You can talk about moral things and stuff like that, but right now we just need a win.”
That seemed highly unlikely after the first 40 minutes. Raytown (4-4, 2-2) outshot Chrisman 6-0 in the first half, outhustled the Bears up front and draped two or three defenders around any Bear in the Blue Jays’ box. Memo Ponce scored Raytown’s first goal on a rebound following a corner kick with 15 minutes left in the half. Two minutes later, Marcos Pantoja buried a shot high in the net.
When Sam Kanda turned and found the far post with a one-timer with 5 minutes left in the half, Raytown had a commanding 3-0 lead.
“That was my fault,” Straub said of Chrisman’s first-half struggles. “We were playing into the wind and I probably should have tweaked the formation a little bit so we could have had two back a little deeper.”
Jolley wasted no time starting the comeback. Less than a minute into the second half, he broke free in Raytown’s box and rifled in a header. With the wind at his back, Jolley completed his brace by curling in a free kick from 30 yards out with 28 minutes to play.
“We just came out in the second half and we started working as a team,” Jolley said. “We started connecting passes and it really helped us step up and take over that game.”
Chrisman had its chances to equalize, including another long free kick from Jolley that sailed just high of the crossbar and a point-blank shot by midfielder Martin Villa that was swatted away by Raytown goalie Jeremiah Blakely.
“We’ve been struggling, but the group of boys that we have this year, there is no quit in them,” Straub said. “And they were able to identify what wasn’t going well for us in the first half and they did a great job of adapting and played much better second half.”
Still, it was another oh-so-close loss for Chrisman.
“We keep losing every game by one, so it still hurts a little bit,” Jolley said. “But it feels good to prove that we can come out and we can compete with teams and we can come back from things.”