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TMP moves on to regional

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

There haven't been many rough patches for the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' soccer team this year. Instead, there have been agonizingly long stretches of time where it seemed nothing would go the Monarchs' way.

TMP entered Monday's Class 4-3-2-1A regional play-in game against visiting Towanda-Circle High School on a season worst six-game losing streak. But when the game was over, the Monarchs walked away with a 4-0 win and were able to put most of the season's struggles out of mind.

"I guess when you get your butt handed to you enough -- like the Hays High game (a 7-1 loss on Oct. 24) -- eventually you got to take it out on somebody else," TMP soccer coach Shawn Lawson said. "It feels good after getting beat for so long all season."

TMP (4-13) used four second-half goals to get the win, advancing them to today's 6 p.m. South Central Regional 2 playoff game at Wichita Independent (12-4). Circle's season ended at 2-15 overall.

The Monarchs outshot Circle nearly 2-to-1 in the first half, but had to settle for a 0-0 game. It wasn't until a goal by sophomore defender Sangam Chhatkuli in the 56th minute that TMP finally got things rolling.

"I'm not sure if he was necessarily wanting to shoot, because I think from that angle, if I remember right, he was almost on the line," Lawson said of Chhatkuli's goal. "He's kind of a playmaker. He wants to play defense -- that's his first position. But I like to put him out there because his touch is good and once he gets in there he can do some things."

Chhatkuli's goal opened the door for TMP, and the Monarchs started to overwhelm Circle from that point. But it wasn't until junior Jack You scored with less than 17 minutes remaining to make it 2-0 that the Thunderbirds finally lost their composure.

"A lot of it is we are a very young and inexperienced team, so we get tired and we get emotional and we just fall apart," Circle coach Ryan Todd said. "I don't want to say they outplayed us -- they played us pretty evenly. We just made the key mistakes that put us behind."

TMP added goals by senior Matteo Zazza (71st minute) and junior Liam Stults (75th minute) to give the Monarchs their first win since Oct. 5 against St. John's Military School.

"In the first half, we were just watching the ball. No one was crashing the goal. And then things just started to go our way," Stults said. "We've had a rough season -- a rebuilding year. To come out here and start tournament play like this is great."

Senior Collan Lawson and junior Keynan Hysten split time in goal for TMP and combined to give the Monarchs their first shutout of the season.