Manhattan High boys’ soccer team came away with a 3-0 win over the Junction City Blue Jays last night in Anneberg Park.
It was senior night, and the bleachers were full of families and friends ready to celebrate the careers of the Indian’s 12 seniors.
“They’re a special group of players,” Manhattan High head coach Frank Alonso said about his seniors. “They’ve been super committed to the team the past couple years, a lot of them are multiyear letter winners. They’re just good players. Their work ethic and their commitment, their personalities, they’re enjoyable guys to be around.”
Alonso started all seniors on the field to begin last night’s game.
The opening minutes of the game Manhattan held possession and became a threat to the Junction City defense.
Their first goal of the game came in the 11th minute when after a few connected passes throughout the Manhattan High midfield, senior Killian Gorman dribbled the ball into the Blue Jay’s 18-yard-box. Gorman looked up and chipped the ball across the goal to a running Jacob Stutheit. Stutheit got his foot on the ball and redirected it into the back of the net.
Five minutes later Gorman found himself in another assist-creating situation.
As his team crashed Junction City’s goal he played the ball to senior midfielder Alex Dzewaltowski, who took a few touches and fired a shot past the Blue Jays’ goalkeeper giving the Indians a two-point lead.
The final goal of the game came right before half time.
Senior defender Joseph Coonrod passed the ball down the middle of the field to junior midfielder Jonathan Turnley. Turnley broke through the Junction City defense and put away a well-placed shot which gave the Indians a 3-0 lead going into the second half.
Though they did not score again in the second half, Manhattan High out-shot Junction City overall 20-4 and forced some big saves upon Blue Jay senior goalkeeper Ammom Borjas late in the game.
For seniors like Gorman, defender Jordan Price and midfielder Jonathan Taylor, their days playing soccer are anything but coming to an end as the three are looking at going on to play soccer at the collegiate level next year.
Other seniors on the Manhattan High Roster: Dzewaltowski, Coonrod, Stutheit, defender Aaron Cole, defender Alex Heger, forward Davis Matthews, midfielder Luc Pohlman, goalkeeper Kai Reever and midfielder Evan Williams.
“We’re a good senior group,” Price said. “We’ve got solid chemistry and we’ve played together, most of us, for four years now.”
Gorman and Taylor agreed with Price, and the three said one of their favorite things about this year’s group of seniors is how well they get along and how often they just hang out and laugh — at everything.
“That’s why we play so well,” Gorman said, “because we just go out and have fun together, I think that’s what makes us such a great group.”
The win put Manhattan High at a record of 11-4-1 this season, and with the senior night jitters behind them, the Indians now must look forward to postseason play.
Manhattan High takes on Lawrence Free State at Anneberg Park at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23rd in its first playoff game.
“The talent is there,” Alonso said about his team as they begin to look towards playoffs. “We feel very strongly that we have a chance.”