Kapaun soccer storms into semifinals
Ian Daley sees nothing out of the ordinary with the connection he has with Kapaun soccer teammate Rhys Allen. Their chemistry, he says, comes from playing next to each other as elite forwards for the Crusaders.
Proximity only goes so far, though. Their minds seem to be on the same parallel, too, as evidenced by the first two goals Kapaun scored in its 7-0 win over Newton on Tuesday night in a Class 5A boys soccer quarterfinal.
Passes from one to the other were delivered perfectly; Allen used the momentum from those goals to notch a hat trick in a little more than 10 minutes, and Kapaun used it to advance to the Class 5A semifinals Friday in Topeka.
"They’ve developed that over the year," Kapaun coach Alan Shepherd said. "At first they’d just put their head down and run and try to beat people, and I think they’re starting to learn that if they combine with each other, they’re going to score more goals."
After Daley missed his initial chances to score, Allen helped him prevent a longer slide by finding him with an easy-to-handle cross as Daley charged down the right side. Daley knocked it in, putting Kapaun ahead less than 10 minutes in.
Five minutes later, Daley drove down the left side but was met by defenders. In one motion, he turned and passed to Allen, who just as quickly put the shot in the net. Kapaun and Allen were on their way — he scored his second goal nine minutes later and completed the hat trick 73 seconds after that.
Allen was the beneficiary of a perfect pass that didn’t come from Daley. On a restart from about 40 yards, Daniel Kelly lofted a long pass to Allen, who essentially only had to stick his foot out to make contact with the ball and deliver a goal, his third.
"I seemed to have been in the zone a lot this season," Allen said. "I’m glad it was tonight because we really needed this victory."
As good as Allen was in the first half, senior defender Jon Richilano nearly matched him in the second. Richilano had the assist on Kapaun’s first goal of the second half then scored the next two, the first on a penalty kick and the next on a breakaway.
After scoring four goals in slightly more than 15 minutes in the first, Kapaun scored three in fewer than six minutes in the second. A quick-strike offense could help the Crusaders at the state tournament, but Shepherd said they can’t rely on that.
"You really don’t know when you’re going to score," Shepherd said. "We just try to take what they give us and go at them. We try to counter quick if it’s there, and if it’s not we try to get (the ball) wide and build it. Sometimes you finish them and sometimes you don’t.
First half—Kapaun, Daley (Allen); Allen (Daley); Allen (J. Masterson); Allen (Kelly). Second half—Kapaun, Wells (Richilano); Richilano (penalty kick); Richilano (unassisted). Shots—Newton 3-1—4; Kapaun 7-7—14. Saves—Newton, Dick 3-2—5; Kapaun, McCully 3-1—4, Fulghum 0-0—0.