For the third year in a row, Sacred Heart soccer fell short to Harrisonville by a single goal.
The Gremlins had their chances to tie the game up at the end, but the Harrisonville defense helped the Wildcats to hold on for the 2-1 win Thursday at Clover Dell Park.
“Tough loss,” said Sacred Heart coach Travis Cooper. “We played fairly decent. We’ve got a couple guys injured so we’re just short on bench. We only subbed in one or two guys the whole game. It’s just really tough to pull that off when you’re playing 80 minutes in the heat.”
Harrisonville’s Cole Harkrader gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead in the 65th minute.
About four minutes later, the Gremlins had a corner kick end up in a pack of players in front of the goal but the ball eventually bounced away from the group.
Chance Spangler gave Max Martin a chance to score shortly after but his shot went wide.
In the 71st minute, Alden Harding’s shot went too high.
Harding came off the bench to find the left corner of the goal for the Gremlins’ lone score of the game in the 57th minute.
Harding scored all three goals in the JV game for Sacred Heart.
“He played fairly well,” Cooper said. “Alden is a transfer. He’s seeing some limited time on varsity right now. There’s some things we’re working with him getting into our system. He’s an athletic kid so he did well (Thursday).”
Three minutes before Harding’s goal, Seith Wiebusch was able to beat Spangler and kick the ball past Sacred Heart goalkeeper Sebastian Auguero-Soliz to give the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage.
“Sebastian is always solid in the net,” Cooper said. “He does a great job there for us. He saved three or four one-on-one balls. He’s not going to save every one. He’s going to get beat once in a while.”
Spangler kept it scoreless two minutes earlier when he slid in front of the goal and kept the ball from rolling in.
“Chance is having a spectacular senior year,” Cooper said. “He’s been playing well since day one and I don’t look for him to let down.”
In the 47th minute, Wiebusch got by the Gremlins’ goalkeeper but his shot went wide.
The Wildcats had chances to increase the lead late, but a shot went wide in the 75th minute and one went over the goal in the 76th minute.
The Gremlins offense slowed in the final 10 minutes as Harrisonville controlled most of the 50/50 balls to keep Sacred Heart from making a run.
“When you run out of gas it’s pretty hard to get up in the air and its hard to challenge for the ball,” Cooper said. “We’re still hitting our groove. I’m not discouraged yet.”
Sacred Heart will continue its string of facing bigger schools as it plays at Class 4 Hickman on Tuesday and hosts Class 3 Helias on Thursday.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.