Shorthanded Falcons hold off Jaguars

By Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner
Van Horn's Jorge Venegas, left, and Blue Springs South's Dylan Prater battle for possession in a Raytown South Tournament semifinal Tuesday. Van Horn advanced to the finals with a 4-2 win.

Diego Coronado’s third goal of the season – and second of the game – provided Van Horn with a little bit of breathing room with less than eight minutes to play against Blue Springs South in the semifinals of the Raytown South Tournament.

The goal gave the Falcons a 4-2 lead and that turned out to be the final score but not without some even later theatrics.

Van Horn’s Daniel Aguilar was called for a foul with 3 minutes left. Blue Springs South prepared for a free kick just outside of the goalkeeper box.

A quick recollection by South’s Jacksyn McIntyre aided the Jaguars. He went to the official and pointed out that was Aguilar’s third foul of the game. After a quick check proved he was right, Aguilar was issued a red card and an early exit.

Van Horn would play the final three-plus minutes a man down.

“When we got the red card, it was kind of scary,” said Coronoado, a junior midfielder. “We ended up staying compacted to get everything out (of the box) to get the win. That is not a spot you want to be in.”

After play resumed, the Jaguars had a good attempt but the ball sailed over the crossbar. That was the only shot on goal South had while playing with a man advantage.

Two minutes prior, Van Horn keeper Cooper Sumpter made a diving save to maintain the 4-2 lead.

Even that play surprised his coach Jesus Rodriguez.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s going to go in,’ and all of the sudden he comes out of the frame and dove for it in the upper 90,” Rodriguez said of Sumpter. “I was like, ‘How did he get to that?’ He is so athletic it is insane. What is weird, his No. 1 sport is baseball. He is probably the best baseball player in the school but he is so athletic and we recruited him to join the team. This is his third season and we are happy he came out.”

Blue Springs South goalkeeper Joey Lorek, left, rolls the ball to a teammate after making a save on Van Horn's Florencio Rojo in Tuesday's Raytown South Tournament semifinal. Van Horn claimed a 4-2 win.

The win vaults the Falcons to Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. title game against defending champion Blue Springs, a 3-0 winner over host Raytown South in the other semifinal. It will be a rematch of Blue Springs’ 3-0 win last year in the first round and feature the last two champions of the tournament.

Van Horn’s win was secured thanks to two second-half goals. Tied at 2 at the break, senior all-state forward Edison Rios broke the tie for the Falcons in the 58th minute on a penalty kick as he beat South goalkeeper Joey Lorek with a shot to the right side.

In the 72nd minute, Rios added an assist when he took a penalty kick near the Falcons’ bench. His kick sailed into the air and toward the back post, where Coronado headed it in for the 4-2 lead.

“We had to play hard and we knew it would come. We just needed to keep the ball on their side and no way they would score on us,” Coronado said. “We had to create opportunities and we put it away eventually.”

Van Horn came out on fire offensively, scoring twice in the first 10 minutes.

Junior midfielder Jorge Venegas scored from 45 yards out in the second minute when his high shot sneaked in just below the crossbar.

After a Blue Springs South foul five minutes later, Coronoado took the free kick and curved a shot into the upper corner of the goal for a 2-0 lead.

With just eight minutes ticked off, the Falcons were flying, but McIntyre did his part to help the Jaguars rally.

After junior Homer Skidmore missed a shot over the goal on a free kick in the 14th minute, the Jaguars kept attacking. Three minutes later, McIntyre scored to make it 2-1. 

Van Horn was called for a yellow card – for a player wrapping his arms around McIntyre and bringing them both to the ground – in the 24th minute, firing up the junior forward. A goal kick from Sumpter didn't get far as McIntyre stole it, dribbled toward the goalie and then beat him and a defender trying to block the shot.

That tied it 2-2 in the 25th minute.

“It was a very physical game in the beginning and we were getting frustrated,” Rodriguez said. “What will we do? Will we rise to the occasion? I told them (South) is a good team and they are making you play. We gave up two goals and I told the guys we can’t give them any assists. You can’t give them an assist with your chest and our goalie gave them an assist. They had momentum and they are a very good team. If you give them a chance, they’ll come back. I’m glad we kept going at them and we were able to put a lot of shots on goal in the second half.”

Blue Springs 3, Raytown South 0

In the first semifinal game on Tuesday, the Wildcats returned to the tournament finals with a victory over the host Cardinals.

Junior midfielder Caden Hoehns scored on a pass from senior forward Dom Zubeck, which gave Blue Springs a 1-0 lead at the break.

Sophomore forward Sawyer Turpin scored for Blue Springs early in the second half, with Hoehns getting the assists. Senior midfielder Michael Martinez’s breakaway goal accounted for the final points of the contest.

Junior Camden Jackson and freshman Tristan Hoyle combined for the shutout in goal for Blue Springs. Jackson played the first half, while Hoyle took the second 40 minutes.

Blue Springs had a 14 to 6 advantage in shots against the Cardinals.