Olathe Northwest edges SM North in regional soccer
Olathe Olathe Northwest had a clear size and speed advantage during its Class 6A boys soccer regional playoff opener against Shawnee Mission North, but the No. 12-seed Indians had the great equalizer for much of the night: an outstanding goalkeeper.
Freshman Kenneth Herron made save after save — many of the diving variety — and kept the top-seed Ravens off the board for nearly 42 minutes before the Ravens finally broke through.
Ultimately, the Ravens prevailed 2-1 Monday night at the Olathe District Activities Complex. They advance to the regional finals at 7 p.m. Thursday at ODAC. North ends its season with a 4-11-2 record.
The Ravens attacked from the opening whistle, and it looked like it was just a matter of time before their offense would open the floodgates on North. Northwest put back-to-back shots on goal from point-blank range during the second minute as Mitch Mize and Brian Ness both fired attempts, but Herron blocked both tries and thwarted the early threat.
Northwest dominated possession during the half and relentlessly pressured the Indians’ goal, but time after time Herron was up to the task whether it was pinning his body against the post, punching the ball over the crossbar or diving to the ground. Herron made 12 saves by halftime, and his defenders cleared numerous other Raven attacks.
Northwest finally broke through in the second half. Graham Dobbins sprung free for a breakaway less than two minutes into the second half, attacked the goal one-on-one, cut past a charging Herron and tapped the ball into the net for a 1-0 Raven lead.
Northwest extended its lead to 2-0 in the 59th minute when Dan Younggren scored on a header off of Mitch Mize’s corner kick.
The Indians had the upper hand for most of the final 20 minutes, putting numerous shots on target before breaking through in the 66th minute when Romeo Munoz lofted a free kick into the box and Miguel Molina headed it inside the far post to bring the Indians within 2-1.
North had a series of chances to tie the game during the final 14 minutes, but the Indians were unable to strike again.