Shot after shot went at the goal.
And shot after shot was saved by St. John’s Military senior keeper Elton Duncan.
But finally, in the second half, the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys’ soccer team found a way to get the ball by the standout keeper.
Once the first goal sailed to the back of the net, two more came shortly afterwards in the Monarchs’ 3-0 win Tuesday afternoon at Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex in Hays.
“He was really, really good,” said junior Logan Shaw. “He was playing excellent.”
After battling to a scoreless tie amid numerous shots in the first half, the Monarchs came out continuing the pressure in the second half.
When junior Braden Manhart scored in the 45th minute after the Mules failed to clear the ball in the box, the Monarchs (5-5) finally had the boost they needed.
“That started to give us some momentum,” Shaw said. “I wish we could have poured some more in. We could have played better, probably should have had at least eight goals.”
TMP peppered the senior keeper in the first half, then kept it up in the second half. But when he finally allowed a goal, Shaw kept the pressure on.
His goal in the 58th minute made it 2-0 for TMP, which beat St. John’s Military 8-1 a week ago in Salina.
“That happened when we were in Salina, too, on Tuesday,” said TMP coach Shea Koerner. “The first half, he was incredible. He played the same way tonight. I think we knew that coming into it. We work on different things like finishing and things like that. Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes they have a 6-foot-4 keeper that can move around.”
Shaw tallied his second goal in the 66th minute, making it 3-0.
“It was hard to get focused,” Shaw said. “You could tell we kind of underestimated them at the start. That’s why we didn’t put some goals in. We weren’t finishing. It was easy to tell.”
While TMP senior keeper Jonathan VanCampen kept a clean sheet, Shaw worked hard for his third goal to earn a hat trick.
Three times in the final 10 minutes, Shaw had an opportunity to tally his third goal. But each time, Duncan found a way to stop the shot.
“I wanted it so bad,” Shaw said. “I was going so hard. I missed a couple easy shots, but it is what it is.”
“When we saw him last week, I think we had 28 shots on him and scored eight on him,” Koerner said. “But he was phenomenal in the first half. Tonight, we had somewhere around 30 shots and were only able to put three of them in. He knows his position. I would love to see someone come give him a look and a scholarship.”
While the Monarchs evened their record for the season, Koerner was hoping to put the game away early.
Instead, his team settled for the three-goal shutout.
Koerner said he’d like to see the team come out aggressive from the start and put the pressure on opponents.
“It seems like we keep finding ourselves in those games, and we shouldn’t be,” Koerner said. “This team is good enough to win games and go deep in the playoffs. The kids just need to want it a little more than they do right now.”