Falling behind by two goals in the first 15 minutes, the Parsons Vikings stormed back against College Heights at home on Monday to take a 3-2 lead by halftime and eventually win 5-2. Aidan Wheat led the Vikings with three goals, his first hat trick of the year.
Parsons has now won three matches in a row to pull itself to 3-3 on the season — a .500 mark for a brand new program midway through the season.
“It’s the old adage that iron sharpens iron,” Parsons head coach Caleb Reid said. “We’re getting tougher against tougher opponents. College Heights gave us some tough competition and we’ll probably see them again.”
College Heights scored two goals early as the Vikings’ backers were caught out of sync.
“Our back line got caught off guard a couple of times,” Reid said. “That allowed them inside. I don’t know if we got criss-crossed. I don’t have the pinpoint moment. But after we were down 2-0, we recognized we were flat in our back line. So it shaped up really well.”
Parsons pulled within a goal when Ethan Wheat buried a shot set up by a pass that split two defenders from Frantisek Pavlovsky.
“Our passes became very precise,” Reid said. “That goal made the rest of the team recognize that it was possible to climb back up. As soon as Ethan’s went in, we had that energy boost.”
Brayden Casper then knotted the match with a goal just a few minutes later.
“Brayden is really good about crashing the goal,” Reid said. “He’s really good about being in the right spot at the right time.”
A goal from Aidan Wheat near the end of the first half gave Parsons a 3-2 advantage heading into the break.
Aidan Wheat then buried two more in the second half to give the Vikings insurance in its victory.
“He’s definitely risen far beyond where we imagined,” Reid said. “He’s a leader that has a work ethic to die for. He has a major back of skill sets. He’s mentally and physically checked into the game. He was definitely an MVP.”
Reid credited the Vikings’ midfielders for swinging the momentum of the match.
“The midfielders put this game on their backs,” Reid said. “They were upfront with pressure and went back on defense. Our midfield shined all day.”
The Vikings’ coach dished out additional praise to Pavlovsky, who routinely set up goal opportunities while dealing with multiple defenders riding him.
“He’s very empathetic and sets the team up for success,” Reid said. “He forces players to come forward with great passes. That’s really what we’re trying to teach.”
Six matches into the inaugural campaign, Parsons finds itself on a three-match winning streak that has elevated expectations for the back half of the season.
“That’s a major stress reliever,” Reid said. “We’ve looked ahead in the season knowing we’ll see some of the same teams. We’re taking a new approach of playing smart and safe to keep the momentum going. We want to gain experience along the way.”
Parsons will travel to Joplin on Saturday for a small tournament where it’ll play at least two matches. The Vikings also picked up a home match against Fort Scott, scheduled for Oct. 19, after a match against Independence was canceled due to Independence being in quarantine.
“We’re going to experiment a little bit,” Reid said. “We want to see who might be comfortable playing in other spots and seeing what we can do.”