One SEK League soccer program made history on Monday afternoon while another was left scratching its head.
The Parsons Vikings earned its first-ever SEK League victory, downing the Chanute Blue Comets 5-4. The win served as revenge for the Vikings, who were shutout by the Blue Comets last Thursday.
“Us coaches went home and did some soul searching,” Parsons head coach Caleb Reid said. “We recognized some things we needed to correct. We did more talking with our team than actual movement on the field. But it all paid off. It’s evident in their progress.”
Chanute head coach Adam Wilcox felt his roster overlooked the Vikings.
“We stopped trying from Thursday to today,” Wilcox said. “We saw a team we’re better than, so we thought we could just jog everywhere. That clearly didn’t work.”
Parsons was reinforced by the return of midfielder Gianluca Piano, who had to serve a one-game suspension against Chanute after getting red-carded in the prior match.
Piano accounted for one goal for the Vikings.
“It’s a big difference. He holds the ball well. That draws players in and opens up every bit of our front,” Reid said. “He’s really good about servicing. We had goal-scoring opportunities because we had a key puzzle piece in there.”
While Parsons got bolstered by the return of a key piece, Chanute is still reeling from the loss of senior goalkeeper Drayton Cleaver.
“We’re playing a sophomore that’s never seen varsity time,” Wilcox said. “We probably don’t give up five goals with our normal keeper.”
Eli Uhner accounted for both of Chanute’s first-half goals while Walker Becknell found the back of the net twice in the second half.
Chanute took an early 2-1 lead in the match before the Vikings knotted it late in the first half.
“We just started coasting,” Wilcox said. “We saw that we could cut through these guys, so we thought it’d happen all 80 minutes. It didn’t work out that way.”
Paxton Swanson led the Vikings with two goals while Mason West, Piano and Eli Koger added one apiece — it was the first match of the season for Parsons that a goal was scored by anybody other than Piano or Aidan Wheat.
“We’re starting to play out wide, we’re starting to slow our play down and that’s allowing our eyes to come up,” Reid said. “That’s allowing us to find opportunities. Now our scoring is spread out. It’s not just Aidan anymore. We’re starting to play as 11 and that’s a big difference.”
Chanute, a fourth-year program, serves as a barometer for Parsons, a program in its second season. Earning a bounce-back win for the Vikings was a lift to morale.
“We’ve got a second layer of foundation on us and we recognize what good teams do,” Reid said. “It’s coming in chunks at a time. I’m seeing a fast rise.”
Parsons, now 2-5 overall and 1-4 in SEK League play, hits the road to face Coffeyville on Thursday. Coffeyville currently sits at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in league action.
“I know we’re going up against juggernauts that have a deep bench,” Reid said. “We’ve got to focus on us and do the little things right.”
As for Chanute, it returns home to face Columbus. The Blue Comets, who were red hot last week, fell to 3-2-1 overall and 3-1-1 in league play with the loss to Parsons.
“Our mission is to play really hard against Columbus,” Wilcox said. “If we play hard, we’ll win by a lot. If we don’t it might be like against Parsons and we’ll lose.”