By Todd Fertig
A goal late in the second overtime period gave the Cair Paravel Latin boys soccer team a 1-0 win over Maranatha Christian Academy Tuesday at the Sunflower Soccer Association.
With the second overtime period about to elapse, Cair Paravel’s Alfredo Cartes lofted a corner kick into the opposing box, where teammate Nathan Keys rose above the crowd to head the ball past the visiting goalkeeper.
Though Cair Paravel finished the regular season with a record of just 4-7, there was plenty at stake for the Lions.
In addition to improving their standing in the Class 4-1A seeding and potentially setting up a more favorable post-season matchup, the Lions felt they had some unfinished business to attend to.
In its previous meeting with Maranatha, Cair Paravel trailed 3-2 when the game was ended prematurely due to weather. The Lions didn’t forget, believing they stood a good chance of tying, and ultimately winning, that contest.
“We were cut off short the last time we played them. So, it felt really good to get this win,” said Justus Scott, the Lions’ lone senior and team captain. “The defense really shut down their offense, and our offense did really well, so I’m proud.”
While four wins will not secure home field advantage in the playoffs, they represent significant improvement for the Lions. Not only did they go 1-10 last season, but, due to low numbers and injuries, they completed just two games with 11 healthy players on the field.
“We’ve had a lot of freshmen that came in and gave the sport a try, some of them for the first time,” coach Mark Congdon said. “We’ve got a core of guys who play the sport and love it and play it year-round. And then we’ve got other guys who kind of rally around them.”
With more players this season, Cair Paravel made strides despite being one of the state’s smallest schools with a boys soccer team.
“We’ve got a young group and I’ve just been trying to teach them what I know and encouraging them that, even though we’re small, we can do good things,” Scott said on Senior Night.
“It’s been really fun. The bond that the team has, that we’re all so connected, has been really great.”
“We’ve exceeded expectations for sure, getting four wins when last year we could only squeak out one,” Congdon said. “And with starting five freshmen and two or three sophomores, it means the world because these guys will only get better from here. The chemistry is going to grow. Hopefully, they will grow and be able to match up against some of the big guys they’re going up against.”
The Lions will learn their playoff opponent this weekend when other teams complete their regular season schedules. They will go on the road to face a higher-seeded from the 4-1A West Region. Regardless of the draw, it will be a daunting task.
“Every time we’re going into some powerhouse’s place, we talk about what our goals are for the match and what counts as a win in our book,” Congdon said. “How can we improve? How can we learn? And a lot of times that’s, ‘Watch what these other teams are doing. Watch how they move the ball. Watch how they communicate. See what a winning team does and adopt those things into your own game.’ ”
CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 1, MARANATHA CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 0 (2 OT)
Maranatha Christian Academy (5-10) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Cair Paravel (4-7) 0 0 0 1 — 1
Cair Paravel — Goal: Keys. Assist: Cartes 1. Shutout: Bolze.