Goalkeepers shine in scoreless tie

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton freshman goalkeeper Abram Wall made his varsity debut with four saves in a 0-0 tie against McPherson.

The season opening boys’ soccer match between the Newton Railers and McPherson Bullpups turned into a goalkeeping duel with no resolution.

McPherson senior Kelvin Peterson had six saves, while Newton freshman Abram Wall had four in a scoreless tie Saturday morning at Fischer Field.

“As a freshman, it was nerve wracking,” Wall said. “I didn’t want to give up a goal. I had a great defense. I thought we should have won, but I’m happy it was 0-0.”

Wall said he previously played club soccer, but presently doesn’t.

McPherson senior Josh Everhart evades Newton senior Daniel Gonzalez-Arevalo during play Tuesday in Newton. After 100 minutes of play, the game ended in a scoreless tie.
Newton senior Jose Torres-Dunnahoo handles the ball during the season opener against McPherson. Newton plays Tuesday at Goddard.

“My team needed me, and needed a keeper,” Wall said. “I started taking some keeper training from (former NHS coach) Nate Dick. He really helped me. They needed a keeper, so I became a keeper. My goal is more clean sheets — I don’t know how many.”

“That was the position that needed to be filled and Abram came in and did a fantastic job for us,” Newton coach Scott Jantzi said. “The defense did a good job of keeping them out of the box today. That gave him more and more confidence. For his first varsity match, it was a clean sheet. We just need some people step up and win it for us.”

Wall’s toughest save was his last. In the 99th minute, McPherson drew a foul about 49 yards from the goal. The free kick was right on goal. Wall was able to punch it away, drawing a foul on the save.

“I got a little beat up on it,” Wall said. “I had to jump up for it.”

Peterson’s toughest save came with one second left in the first half of overtime, taking a high shot heading towards the upper left corner.

“He was big, Kelvin had a great game. A big shutout,” McPherson coach Chris Adrian said. “In the first half, he didn’t have as much to do, but in the second half, he made some really good saves for us. He was aggressive, coming off his line. He kept us in it for a few of those shots. That was good for him. It will give him tons of confidence.”

McPherson senior Connor Olson handles the ball during a road game at Newton. The Bullpups host Salina South Tuesday.
Newton High School junior Jesus Renteria takes a direct kick during play against McPherson.

“Both teams had those first-game jitters,” Jantzi said. “We played in that (Newton Fall Sports Fest) last night, and I’m not sure how late they stayed out, but I think it took us a while to get going. In the second half, we did a much better job of creating opportunities, we just couldn’t get one of them to work out.”

McPherson had two goals called back in the first half – one on dangerous play as the attacker played the ball while on the ground with defenders within six feet. The second was called back for offsides.

Newton’s attack was hampered by nine offsides calls. The Railers had three shots in the first half kicked off the line by McPherson defenders.

“We got some good fitness out of it,” Adrian said. “I thought we came out of it pretty healthy. We had a couple of guys cramping towards the end. Hopefully, it’s something that helps us going forward.”

Newton plays 6 p.m. Tuesday at Goddard, 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Goddard Eisenhower and opens play the following week at the Titan Classic in Wichita.

McPherson junior Caden Hardgrove handles the ball during a scoreless overtime tie against Newton.

“That will be two good tests for us,” Jantzi said. “We’ll be playing on much bigger fields. We’ll see how we adjust to the bigger fields.”

McPherson hosts Salina South at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. McPherson opens play in the Maize South-Valley Center Invitational Sept. 7.

“You can tell, chemistry wasn’t quite there,” Adrian said. “Both teams had trouble passing the ball. The outlook of this team is really strong. We have a lot of depth and leaders. We have a good senior class.”

McPherson;0;0;(0-0);—;0

Newton;0;0;(0-0);—;0 Total shots — McP. 2-1-(0-1)—4, New. 5-4-(2-0)—11. Shots on goal — McP. 2-1-(0-1)—4, New. 2-2-(2-0)—6. Saves — McP: Kelvin Peterson (T) 2-2-(2-0)—6. New.: Abram Wall (T) 2-1-(0-1)—4. Corner kicks — McP. 3, New. 7. Fouls — McP. 15, New. 9. Offside — McP. 1, New. 9. Cautions — none.

Junior varsity — Newton 2, McPherson 1

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com