Tuesday night at the Chanute Community Sports Complex was the closest Chanute High School soccer has ever gotten to beating Pittsburg.
In three years of competitive soccer, Chanute has never won over Pittsburg. In the last matchup versus Pittsburg, the Blue Comets lost 1-0 earlier this year. Tuesday night, though, the teams tied in a 1-1 double-overtime game, moving Chanute to 4-7-2 on the year.
Chanute’s Kaleb Becannon scored a goal at the 19-minute mark, while the Pittsburg goal was from Shane Baeza.
“A lot of things went well tonight. It seems like a couple a weeks ago everything went bad, today is like everything went really well,” CHS head coach Adam Wilcox said. “Our back four are finally playing games together, and that matters so much. I dropped Lawson (Collins) to the back four last week and that’s what that group really needed, his speed and presence back there. And now they’ve had a couple of games to gel together a little bit. The back four was wonderful. Grayson Burchett played incredibly. He probably played his best game in three years. Just awesome.”
It was evident that Chanute was winning balls aggressively, taking light touches and finding the right players up the line. The midfielders were playing exceptional team ball; they were not trying to take on the opponents one-on-one, two-on-one or even three-on-one.
Conversely, the midfielders were playing together and going to useful space. This type of play, Wilcox said, is contagious, and they want to do it even more.
“That’s exactly how I want to play. Maybe it’s because we’re all healthy,” Wilcox said. “(Gregory) Lopez went out early and (Jacob) Guernsey didn’t even start. Not all healthy, but compared to where we were, where JV kids are coming off and playing 15 minutes and getting hurt. We’re trending the right way. Each game is getting a little better. Now is the time to do it in mid-October and hopefully into November is when we play our best.”
That will be contingent upon the health of the players, which relatively speaking, the Blue Comets are. Guernsey didn’t play Tuesday because of a sore groin and tightness. Lopez came out with 15 minutes left in the game, and didn’t play in overtime. Wilcox, though, prepared his team with virtually all of its healthy players. The results just didn’t pan out into a win.
“I didn’t necessarily prepare anything for Pitt, it’s just emphasizing how we want to play,” Wilcox said. “We just prepare the best we can be and the way we want to play. It’s starting to work a little bit more. We wanted to win and we had chances. I’m bummed out that we didn’t win. And we should keep hungry like that.”
Meanwhile, for Pitt (3-3-2), Purple Dragons head coach Kyle Bockover said he wasn’t impressed by his team’s tie, especially after they made it as far as the second round of the Class 5A playoffs last season.
“I didn’t see a ton I was really happy with,” Bockover said. “I think defensively, we were pressing hard to the ball. In the final third, we couldn’t find anything to put a ball in the net and finish. That little combination that we had in the first half, I was pretty pleased with that. But nothing came after that. We’ve been struggling for a few games.”
Chanute (4-7-2) will next play Chanute Christian Academy today.