Huskies come apart late, fall to Blue Valley in substate game, 3-0

Several opportunities on offense fall short as the Huskies were unable to maintain a solid defensive presence in the second half.

Sophomore+Sam+McIntosh+dribbles+the+ball+down+the+sideline+in+the+team%27s+first+round+substate+game%2C+Oct.+28.

Lindsey Farthing

Sophomore Sam McIntosh dribbles the ball down the sideline in the team’s first round substate game, Oct. 28.

Jack Bensing, National Editor

Coming into the playoffs with a 8-3-1 record, the Huskies were fresh off concluding the regular season by winning four out of the last five games. The start of the game was defined by the strong defensive presence on both sides of the ball, from fending off offensive pushes to making key saves. 

Deadlock in the first half meant neither side entered halftime with points on the board. However, Blue Valley had a strong start by scoring a goal off of a corner kick seven minutes into the second half. Unfortunately, the Huskies were never able to recover in the remaining minutes of the matchup.

With 20 minutes remaining, the Huskies were maintaining their one point deficit and a late push at the end of the game was within reach. Nevertheless, goals by Blue Valley within the last 15 minutes of the game complicated the Huskies’ chances of a comeback. Blue Valley Northwest had several late pushes on offense, but Blue Valley countered the pushes to create goals of their own. After the loss, head coach Brian Pollack attributed the team’s inability to score to the Tigers’ ability to apply pressure.

“I think that [Blue Valley] did a good job of pressing in numbers and making it tough for us to keep possession,” Pollack said. “They took us out of our game a bit and we just struggled to connect passes and create good opportunities.”

Coming off the loss, senior Aidan Knauth said there was a lack of energy from the team in the game. Additionally, he made the point that the team was approaching the game with an overabundance of confidence.

“We were overlooking this game and looking onto the next game, so we probably approached this game with not as much energy as we probably should have,” Knauth said.

The varsity soccer team had a big presence of seniors, with 10 of them at the team’s head this year. With the loss to the Tigers concluding their season, Pollack said the seniors had a sizable impact on the group.

“Those 10 seniors are everything,” Pollack said. “They all lead in different ways, but they set our culture this year in such a positive way.”

Knauth concurred with what Pollack said about changing the culture of the team this year, citing big improvements from last year’s team record. Looking into the future, Knauth said the team’s progress this year is something to build on for the future.

“As the coaches said, we changed the culture,” Knauth said. “Last year, we had a record that was barely even. This year, we came second for EKL and I think for the future it’s a good building block.”