Late goals sink Eagles

By Bill Althaus
Grain Valley forward Alex Engram runs the ball to the center of the field after scoring a goal in the 51st minute of Wednesday's home game against Oak Park. Engram's cut the Eagles' deficit to 2-1 but the Northmen scored three late goals to pull away for a 5-1 win.

First-year boys soccer coach Brett Lewis was feeling good about his Grain Valley soccer team following a slick goal by Alex Engram Wednesday.

Engram split two Oak Park defenders and slammed the ball past goalkeeper Elijah Davis to cut the Eagles’ deficit to 2-1 in the 51st minute.

Then, well, Oak Park did what it has done to so many teams this year – score goals in bunches.

Samuel Salgado dribbled his way between three Eagle defenders to make it 3-1 in the 72nd minute, then the Northmen scored on back-to-back headers off corner kicks as Cole Caylor completed the hat trick. Marcus Salgado wrapped up the 5-1 win with the second header goal in less than two minutes.

“Those goals at the end were back-breakers,” Lewis said. “We had the chance to score a goal from the top and tie the score (in the 65th minute) – and that could have made a huge difference in the outcome of the game. And then they go and score three goals in the last six or seven minutes and we can’t rebound from that.

“We don’t have a lot of height, but I’m really disappointed we didn’t play better defense against those headers. One guy was unmarked and we didn’t play the tough type of defense you have to play to beat a team like Oak Park.

“I’m proud of our effort, but we have a lot of things to work on.”

Grain Valley midfielder Austin Schmitt (6) maintains possession as he sprint downfield in Wednesday's home game against Oak Park. The Eagles lost 5-1.\.

Northmen coach Josh Howard, a 2003 graduate of Lee’s Summit North High School who played soccer for coach Tim Richardson, was pleased with his undefeated team’s overall effort.

“We knew we had to come down here and play a strong game because one of our strongest rivals is North Kansas City, and Grain Valley beat them (3-2 Monday), so we knew we had to come down here and play well, and we did,” Howard said.

Caylor opened the scoring in the 10th minute when he broke through a pack of defenders and slipped the ball past Isaac Lewis.

His next goal came on a penalty kick at the 36-minute mark.

Grain Valley senior forward Alex Engram (28) splits Oak Park defenders Marco Salgado (9) and Max Ellison (8) as he mounts an attack in Wednesday's game at Moody Murry Field. Engram scored to pull the Eagles within 2-1 but the Northmen pulled away late for a 5-1 win.

Engram then scored to make it a 2-1 game, but the flurry of goals at the end enabled Oak Park (4-0) to enjoy a happy bus ride back north.

“Oak Park is so talented you can have a close game against them, then they just explode and score three goals like they did tonight,” Lewis said. “Mentally, we were not in it at the end of the game, but you have to give Oak Park credit because they found a way to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Grain Valley defender Dominic Morlan (24) taps the ball forward to clear the zone in Wednesday's game against Oak Park. Grain Valley fell 5-1 to the Northmen.
Oak Park's Cole Caylor (11) shields Grain Valley's Micah Siems (5) from the ball during Wednesday's game at Moody Murry Field. Caylor scored a hat trick to lead the Northmen to a 5-1 win.
Grain Valley defender JR Brown, right, clears the ball away during Wednesday's game against Oak Park. Grain Valley went on to a 5-1 loss.