If Friday night was any indicator, the Manhattan High boys’ soccer team is going to enjoy its new digs at Bishop Stadium.
Playing for the first time on the newly-installed turf in near 100-degree heat, the Indians won 4-0 against Lawrence High, earning a shutout for goalkeeper Alex Richt while senior captains Peter Maier and Jonathan Turnley each scored a pair of goals.
“In the first half, I think we were a little nervous, a little anxious just because it was the first game, and here at Bishop,” Manhattan head coach Frank Alonso said. “And it was 100 degrees out here — we just didn’t play as well as we had been playing.”
Turnley’s goals were both unassisted, the first coming in the fourth minute of the first half and the second 10 minutes into the second half. The senior added an assist to his stat line on Maier’s first goal seven minutes into the second half. Senior captain Matt Liotta assisted on the game’s final goal around 20 minutes into the second half.
“The first half, we executed, but it was a lot closer than I would have liked,” Alonso said. “We got a goal early and then it was 50-50 the rest of the way. Then in the second half, we came out and started two goals the first 10 minutes and added a third one before taking out some of our starters. But overall they did a good job.
As the game wore on, Alonso switched the Indians’ formation by using a third forward and one less midfielder, which helped generate some offense.
Manhattan took a 1-0 lead to halftime, but found new energy in the second half as the sun started to set. Manhattan outshot the Lions 15-5. Richt saved just three shots on goal all night.
“The boys in the back did a nice job,” Alonso said. “They made just a couple mistakes all night. Alex Richt in goal was very solid. He didn’t have to do a lot, but when he did, he commanded respect. It was great to have him back. It gives us the confidence to maybe attack a little more.”
Alonso said he was pleased the team was able to generate offense without the help of last year’s top scorer Eric Gray, who was limited to around 10 minutes because of an illness.
While the Kansas State football game didn’t conflict with any high school football games, as athletic director John Currie promised when the schedule was announced, the soccer team did have to compete with the Wildcats. Alonso said he was surprised at how good the crowd was, saying there were three times as many fans as he expected.
“We appreciate them coming out and supporting us,” Alonso said. “It was a good atmosphere.”
MHS heads to Wichita on Monday to begin the Titan Classic against Wichita North, a state quarterfinal team from a year ago.
“We’re expecting a very difficult game,” Alonso said. “It will not be easy.”
JV wins 2-1
The Manhattan junior varsity boys’ soccer team won 2-1 in its game Friday afternoon. Battling even more intense temperature issues than the varsity two hours later, the Indians squeaked out the win behind goals from Matt Turnley and Conall Root.