ELBING — The Berean Academy soccer team was on the defensive for the entirety of the Class 4-3-2-1A regional finals against Wichita Trinity Academy Thursday in Elbing.
Trinity scored twice in the final three minutes of play to claim a 2-0 win. Cole Mathews and Jonathan Heuer each scored a goal for the Knights. Sakai Kan and Landon Green each had an assist.
“We definitely spent more time defending than attacking,” Berean coach Russ Busenitz said. “To their credit, they played a very, very tough schedule of primarily (Wichita) City League schools. Records become deceiving as to the quality of the team. Their 6-11 doesn’t speak to the level to what they can play at the 4-1A classification. Even with that, our defense was battled and hung in there. We have a great goalkeeper in Zac Koontz. We can trust him. When the defense doesn’t make plays, it’s easy to rely on him. He made a couple great saves again today.
“I appreciate all he’s done for us. Him and all our seniors for what he’s done for us. Trinity’s a good squad. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re in the state semifinals next week.”
Trinity, 7-11, plays 13-5 Buhler at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Buhler in the quarterfinals.
Koontz finished the game with 13 saves. Alex Kirsten-Westgard had three saves for the Knights.
Berean was outshot 16-3, 9-0 in the second half.
Both goals came on direct kicks. On the first, Kan hit a high looper that Mathews was able to knock in. A long kick to Green set up a crossing pass to Heuer.
Trinity controlled possession for most of the first half, outshooting the Warriors 7-3. Trinity’s best chances came late in the half on a direct kick outside the Berean penalty box, getting two shots that led to a corner kick. Berean missed a one-versus-goalkeeper chance late in the first half.
Berean Academy ends the season 10-6-2. The Warriors lose six seniors.
“That’s a significant turnover,” Busenitz said. “But last year, we lost more than that. These guys grew into the next level. That’s what coaching is about and that’s what high school is about.
“Being the small school we are, we have a lot of guys playing basketball and running track. I don’t believe in specializing. It gives them a break. It helps them athletically. It helps them when they have a chance to play other sports. They’ll do some things in the summer that will get them ready for next season.”
1. WT Cole Mathews (Sakai Kan) 76:22
2. WT Jonathan Heuer (Landon Green) 77:56
Total shots — WTA 7-9—16, BA 3-0—3. Shots on goal — WTA 7-8—15, BA 3-0—3. Saves — WTA: Alex Kirsten-Westgard (W) 3-0—3. BA: Zac Koontz (L, 79:19, 2 ga) 7-6—13; Creighton Kukula (:41, 0 ga) x-0—0. Corner kicks — WTA 7, BA 2. Fouls — WTA 9, BA 18. Offside — WTA 0, BA 3. Cautions — none.