After notching a couple of bang-bang goals in the opening minutes , Lee’s Summit West looked ready to make quick work of Rockhurst in the Nov. 7 Class 3, District 13 soccer final.
Not so fast.
Rockhurst made a quick recovery and what looked at first to be a Titans romp turned into a see-saw affair that wasn’t settled until Rockhurst struck twice late in the second half and ended LSW’s season with a 5-3 victory at Belton’s Southwick Stadium.
“It was a very frantic game,” LSW coach Chris Brizendine said. “We got those quick goals, got up on them early, just kind of a crazy game. Back and forth and both teams played well. It’s tough.”
It didn’t appear that tough in the beginning. Just 18 seconds into the game, LSW forward Tony Mok charged down field and found Rockhurst’s goalkeeper out of position and buried the ball in the net.
About 13 minutes later, Mok struck again, this time hitting a blast from about 30 yards out.
Brizendine, however, knew the game was far from over.
“They’re a good team and we knew they would come right back at us,” he said. “They were transition goals; we caught them out and got good looks there.”
Rockhurst, 18-8, wasted no time battling back. A shot from the top of the 6-yard box by Neil Kelly a minute after Mok’s second goal pulled the Hawklets within one. Kelly then tied the game with a penalty kick awarded after LSW was called for a handball in the penalty box.
The two teams battled back and forth after that, with neither one able to mount much pressure on offense. Rockhurst took its first lead on a header from Kyle McLagan two minutes into the second half, but the Titans tied it again on a goal by Max Ostrander just over a minute later.
Ostrander almost gave the Titans a lead with 17 minutes left, but his shot from the top of the box was deflected off the fingertips of the Hawklet’s goalie.
Rockhurst finally took the lead for good when Jordan Evans scored with 3:29 left to play on a header that caromed off the crossbar and into the net. Kelly’s second goal with 2:11 left sealed the Titans’ fate.
“It was kind of back and forth in there,” Brizendine said of Evans’ goal. “We went up to make a save, it hit the crossbar and our keeper went in. It was just an unfortunate deal.”
And an unfortunate end to the Titans’ 22-4 season. While Rockhurst celebrated its district title on the middle of the field, Brizendine told his shocked and teary-eyed players that they had no reason to hang their heads.
“It was a fantastic team,” Brizendine said. “They did some great things this year. We made it clear to them and I’ll continue to make it clear to them that 22-4 is a great record.”