After Thursday’s season-opening game at Topeka High was postponed, the Manhattan High girls’ soccer team was relegated back to practice, forced to wait until Saturday to begin its season.
Facing a tough Blue Valley West squad on the road, the Indians fell 3-0 to open the season with a loss.
Manhattan head coach Mike Sanchez said the team had its chances against a talented opponent, but needed to match the Jaguars’ intensity from the start.
“They’re a solid team to come out and see what we need to work on and what works, and it was a tough match,” he said. “Good teams take advantage of little mistakes that you make, and they were definitely dangerous and aggressive on the attack.”
The Indians trailed 2-0 at halftime and allowed the third goal early in the second period. Despite the score difference, Manhattan (0-1) was only outshot 13-9, while getting seven shots on goal against Blue Valley West.
“It was a winnable game, we had our opportunities as well, we just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities quite like they did,” he said. “But that was the different for us — inside the 18, we just weren’t able to put it in the back of the net.”
Sanchez said the team got more looks in the second period after making some adjustments. With the first game out of the way, he knows more of what his team will need to work on in the coming weeks.
“For us this year, we’re really looking to link up through our center forward and target forwards,” he said. “In the second half, we did a much better job of doing that, which created some opportunities for us on the flanks to get up and get in on the attack and also for our outside backs to get involved as well. That helped us get a little more dangerous, but we have to realize that we’ve got to do that from the beginning of the game.”
Manhattan hosts Topeka West on Tuesday, the first of just six regular-season home matches all season. While the Indians have typically fared well against the Chargers, the coach is urging his team to come out and play strong from the start.
“Traditionally, we’ve always done well against them, but you never know,” he said. “I hope that we do again.”