Monarch soccer picks up second win
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
It was like a festival for international students at the Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex Thursday afternoon.
And Thomas More Prep-Marian High School wasn't all that gracious a host.
The Monarch boys' soccer team, after 9-1 back-to-back losses, found its offense in an 11-2 victory over the Word of Life Traditional School.
It was just the second game of the season for Word of Life, a small private school out of Wichita that features players from 10 different countries on this year's team, including only one from the United States.
It was Game No. 9 for TMP, which was looking forward to playing against a program more its size for a change.
Class 3A TMP is the smallest school in the entire western half of the state that has a soccer program. So the Monarchs spend a lot of the regular season playing against 5A and 6A schools. All but on of its first eight games were against larger schools.
After road losses to 5A Liberal and 6A Dodge City, the Monarchs came out strong at home Thursday.
Every player who suited up for TMP got into the game, giving the Monarch coaches a chance to watch some of their younger players in action.
The Monarchs didn't field a junior varsity team this year because of lack of numbers, and their tough varsity schedule makes it hard to get less experienced players on the field.
"We looked better today, wanted to work on some things," TMP head coach Shawn Lawson said of his players, "but all they wanted to do was score."
Who could blame them?
After being outscored 44-10 through their first eight games, the Monarchs were having fun scoring themselves Thursday.
They found the back of the net early and often, led by a four-goal game by junior Jack You.
Six different TMP players scored in the first half, including senior Collan Lawson, the team's starting goalkeeper. Thursday, juniors Keynan Hysten and Brady Hutchison split time in goal, and Lawson played in the field, where he also recorded an assist.
TMP stretched its lead to 8-0 in the second half before goals by Word of Life's Pablo Serna, a native of Spain, prevented the shutout.
You, a TMP resident student from South Korea who also kicks for the Monarch football team, showed his versatility against Word of Life, scoring with a hard shot that bounced off the Fire goalie's hands and into the net, on a rebound off his head and on an easy tap-in after a long run.
You also recorded an assist, and junior Jordan Pfannenstiel added a goal and two assists for the Monarchs.
TMP's scoring barrage, which came from eight different players, tied the school record for most goals in a game, matching the mark set by the Monarchs' state-qualifying squad in 2009.
The Monarchs also played strong defensively. Led by junior center backs Lane Fisher and Liam Stults, TMP held off early offensive runs by Serna to keep the momentum on the home side.
The Monarchs will try for their second consecutive win Saturday in a 1 p.m. game in Salina vs. St. John's Military Academy.
TMP, which beat the Muleskinners 5-2 at home last month, then will celebrate Senior Day Tuesday at the TMP Field, where it will entertain Great Bend in a 4 p.m. contest. TMP seniors who will be honored before the game will be Collan Lawson and Cameron Brin, both local students from Hays, and Matty Zazza, a resident student from Italy.