Derby defeats Northwest at Titan Classic
When Derby boys soccer coach Paul Burke looked at his team’s schedule prior to the Titan Classic, he picked the team Derby needed to strive to beat. On Sept. 17, Derby is scheduled to play Northwest, but the matchup came early when the two teams met in the Titan Classic’s blue bracket semifinal game Thursday.
“This year our goal was to beat Northwest, no matter when it came. We knew we were going to probably play them twice, whether it was in the tournament, definitely in the regular season, and you never know what you’re going to get in the regionals and playoffs,” Burke said “That was the goal, just to beat them, we weren’t really worried about anybody else.”
The Panthers pulled out a 1-0 victory over Northwest with a late-game goal from junior Thome Denesongkham.
Derby started the game maintaining the majority of possession and stringing multiple passes together throughout every phase. But Northwest’s experience started to break down Derby’s tactics, forcing the Panther defense to send long balls up to lone forward Alan Flores, which limited its scoring opportunities.
Northwest took more control after halftime, outshooting Derby 5-3 in the half. Despite Derby’s lack of energy late in the game, its defense got the ball to midfielder Matt Chapman who carried the ball down the touch line before finding Julio Vielmas in the middle of the field. Vielmas sent the ball to Denesongkham’s foot in the left corner, and he slotted the ball toward the back post for the game’s only goal with 2:24 remaining.
“I think (Northwest) was trying to go more for the victory, we were kind of not necessarily not going for it, but we knew to just be patient and build,” Burke said. “Instead of just kicking it all the way up to the forwards, we tried to build through (Vielmas), Hernan (Vielmas) and (Chapman) in the midfield, and that’s how it broke. We got pressure to make them step, is what I think happened.”
Northwest won the blue bracket last year.
“That’s a good wake-up call for us, because every game we play will be just like this. No matter who we’re playing, it’s going to be just like this. The opponent will play their best game against us,” Northwest coach Bobby Bribiesca said. “We’re going to go back home and regroup, and we’re going to come back strong.”
Kapaun shut out Garden City 3-0, with two goals from Grant Wells, and one from Logan Wells, to win the other semifinal game in the blue bracket.
Garden City exposed Kapaun’s defensive weaknesses, but experience on Kapaun’s defense and goalkeeper Elliott Fulghum kept the Buffalos from scoring.
“It always helps playing against a good team like Garden City, because you see your weaknesses, and you see your strengths as well. That’s more or less what we wanted to take away from this game,” Kapaun coach Alan Shepherd said.
Kapaun will play Derby for the blue bracket championship game at 3 p.m. on Saturday.