Archive for Friday, October 20, 2017

Mill Valley soccer edges Miege, 3-2, in regular season finale

Mill Valley junior Jake Ashford (11) celebrates his go-ahead goal with senior Brent Stevenson (7) late in the second half of the Jaguars' 3-2 win over Bishop Miege on Thursday.

Mill Valley junior Jake Ashford (11) celebrates his go-ahead goal with senior Brent Stevenson (7) late in the second half of the Jaguars' 3-2 win over Bishop Miege on Thursday.

October 20, 2017

— With Thursday's Eastern Kansas League boys soccer showdown between Mill Valley and Bishop Miege coming down to the wire, MV junior Jake Ashford found an extra gear in the final minutes.

After the Jaguars had built a two-goal halftime lead against the Stags, the defending Class 4-1A state champs seized control after the break to tie it up. Miege had momentum for most of the second half, but the Jaguars put together one last charge behind Ashford.

The Mill Valley junior nearly put the Jaguars back in front with 10:45 remaining when he rifled a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that was deflected over the crossbar by Miege goalkeeper Tyler Gray. Seven minutes later, Ashford was able to take matters into his own hands when he was able to beat Gray to a 50-50 ball before blasting it home for what proved to be the game-winner in the Jaguars' 3-2 victory over the Stags.

"He (Gray) was coming and I just put everything into that one because I knew that there was nobody back if he were to miss it," Ashford said. "I just knew I had to get to it."

Ashford was the first to just about everything in the final 10 minutes. He made a crucial clearance with 1:30 to play when the Stags were searching for an equalizer. He was the first Jaguar to go over and shake hands after the game with a couple of Miege players, who fell just short of recording the first undefeated regular season in the program's 35-year history. Last but not least, Ashford led the charge over to the stands to thank the Mill Valley fans following the match to thank them for their support.

While Ashford's goal decided the game, Mill Valley coach Arlan Vomhof was proud of all of his players that helped wrap up a 12-4 regular season.

"He (Ashford) has done a great job. Ian Carroll has done a great job. Our back four have been phenomenal," Vomhof said. "(Kyle) Franklin and Bradley (Teasley) in the middle have been outstanding. Our two outside backs have done awesome for us because they were knocking them left and right from these guys coming at us tonight. The whole team has done awesome this season."

Vomhof was particularly pleased with the effort of his team in the first half, as the Jaguars dictated the tempo between the 18s. Senior Trent Anderson gave the Jaguars and early lead on a tap-in in the fifth minute, and senior Brent Stevenson pushed their advantage to 2-0 in the 33rd.

"It was a great first half. We did a lot of things in the first three-quarters of our season that benefitted us, and then we kind of got in this different situation that the boys were doing," Vomhof said. "It's nice to get back to the game that we typically have played. They came out and they were knocking the ball well. They were making good connections."

The Stags (13-1-1) did not go quietly, though. Miege cut the deficit in half in 47th minute with a goal from Ethan Martinez. The Miege forward nearly tied up 10 minutes later with a strike from the edge of the 6-yard box, but Mill Valley goalie Aidan Veal was right there for the save.

While Veal and the Jaguars temporarily weathered the storm, Miege capitalized on a golden opportunity to pull level when Garrett Hagen buried a penalty kick in the back of the net in the 60th minute. The Stags were awarded the PK after senior George Quinly drew a foul in the 18-yard box.

Miege was able to turn the tables on Mill Valley after the break by playing the ball over the top and using its speed. Vomhof said it was crucial for the Jaguars to get back to their style of play late in the second half to come away with the victory.

"The second half they came out and kind of got in a run-and-gun with Miege," Vomhof said. "Then we made some adjustments and we kind of got back into our possession and dinging the ball around and things turned out well."

Vomhof had to laugh a little bit when reflecting on how much his team accomplished over the course of the regular season. His team did not return much varsity experience going into this year, but he lauded the efforts of Anderson, Stevenson, Teasley, Franklin and fellow seniors Carter Lawson, Kyle Hirner, Drake Brizendine, Myles Mustapich and Isaac Knapp for their leadership over the course of the season.

"Our seniors have been fun this year. We came in and we graduated 12 seniors," Vomhof said. "We had four boys that had varsity experience and everyone else had moved up from JV. It says a lot about those guys and what they did and what they prepared for. They've done awesome this year."

The Jaguars will now turn their attention to regionals, which will begin next week. The regional brackets are scheduled to be seeded on Saturday.

"It gives us a lot of confidence and makes us feel good about it," said Ashford of the win in the regular season finale. "Now we have the second seed essentially, so we feel good going into the postseason."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.