Sopping wet and chilled to the bone, Van Horn forward Edison Rios found Monday night to be a miserable night for playing soccer.
But not for scoring goals.
The constant misty rain and 30-degree temperatures didn’t keep Rios from notching a hat trick with three quick goals that propelled the Falcons to a 3-0 victory over Blue Springs South on the Jaguars’ home field.
“This is my first time playing in this weather,” Rios said. “It’s so hard to play; it’s so cold.”
Even while waterlogged and playing on a field with standing water, Rios still out-quicked Blue Springs South’s defenders. All three goals came in similar breakaway fashion.
Rios first scored in the eighth minute when older brother Julio Rios collected a ball at midfield and fired it to him in front of the goal. He scored again on a breakaway in the 66th minute, and Julio Rios found him again with a through ball to the middle of the 18-yard box in the 76th minute.
“We talked to him about (the conditions), how we’re hitting the playoffs pretty soon and we have to get climatized to this weather,” Van Horn coach Jesus Rodriguez said. “We’ve got guys who’ve got pace and are strong, and that definitely helped us throughout this game.”
“I wasn’t faster than them,” said Rios, who now has a team-high 39 goals for the Falcons. “They're really fast too. I was just trying harder.”
Van Horn (19-3), ranked third in the state in Class 3, used its speed to create other opportunities that gave the Falcons a 17-7 advantage on shots. Blue Springs South (8-10) had some chances, most notably on long free kicks that just missed the frame, but the Jaguars couldn’t get anything past Van Horn goalkeeper Cooper Sumpter, who recorded the Falcons’ 14th shutout.
“We just didn’t play with any emotion or heart tonight,” Blue Springs South coach Jon Grice said. “You can play anybody in the state, and if you don’t have effort, you don’t have heart and you don’t have a little bit of energy, than that’s what’s going to happen.”
Blue Springs South closes out its regular season tonight at home against Lee’s Summit North in a match moved up a day to avoid Wednesday’s snowy forecast. Van Horn plays host to Harrisonville on Wednesday before beginning its quest next week to return to the Class 3 final four.
“I was content overall because they’re a strong team, they’re a Class 4 team and we were able to come out with a win,” Rodriguez said.
And survive in harsh conditions.
“It was an important game for us,” Rios said. “This will prepare us for state. And the next game, it’s really going to be cold too.”