COFFEYVILLE — Two expectation-shattering seasons collided in Coffeyville on Thursday as the Parsons Vikings traveled to face the Coffeyville Golden Tornado in the KSHSAA 4-1A regional finals.
Coffeyville won the match 3-0, advancing to their first-ever KSHSAA state quarterfinals, while Parsons’ inaugural season ended with a 7-8 overall record.
Parsons head coach Caleb Reid said depth and experience on the part of the SEK League champion Coffeyville was the difference-maker.
“That was 100% experience on their part,” Reid said. “We were bested by a truly better team. They had juniors and seniors in spots where we have freshmen that are new to the pace of the game.”
Parsons got a half dozen shots on goal but couldn’t connect.
“We didn’t have the number of opportunities, but we had a few quality breaks on their back line for some tries,” Reid said. “They just didn’t find the back of the net.”
Vikings star midfielder Frantisek Pavlovsky, the team’s leader in goals, was blanketed by the Coffeyville defense throughout the match.
“At some points, he had five guys on him,” Reid said. “That freed up some runs from guys that allowed us to penetrate.”
Despite the loss, Reid felt honored after the match that saw the first-year program come one win short of the state quarterfinals.
“This season, at every turn, shattered my expectations,” Reid said. “First of all, we finished the season. That itself is wild. Add in some of our victories against tough opponents, we put together sound games of soccer. I feel like we’ve created a program that will continue to build.”
Parsons will lose the services of seniors Brandon Brungardt, Brayden Casper, Nathalia Loredo-Ortiz and Ethan Wheat as well as Pavlovsky, who heads back home to the Czech Republic next semester.
“I consider us very lucky to have gotten (Pavlovsky),” Reid said. “He came with a week’s notice and we got incredibly lucky. But Aidan Wheat becomes him next year. We’ve got kids that are great ball handlers. We’ll pick up some skill. We get to grow.”
Improved passing on the part of Parsons will be a point of emphasis this offseason.
“We have to be sharper with our passes,” Reid said. “We have to know what actions in the game to take before they’re necessary. It has to become second nature to us. That comes with out-of-season practice as well as the program putting pressure on to learn the game.”
Coffeyville’s win put the Golden Tornado into their first-ever state quarterfinals.
As for Parsons, a seven-win campaign in its first year exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.
“We’re going to talk off-season and next year now,” Reid said. “Now we get to truly reflect and take our mental game to the next level.”