Photo by James Parrish
The Bulldogs huddle after the win over Kearney.
Photo by James Parrish
North Platte's Cameron Cox tries to control the ball against Tristen Crook of Kearney.
After losing eight straight matches, the North Platte High School boys' soccer team showed on Tuesday that it has stayed resilient all along by beating Kearney 3-2 at Bauer Field to end that losing streak.
The Bulldogs (3-8) have been competitive this season in spite of its record. Four of its eight losses were by one goal and two of them were by two. NPHS coach Danny Whitney said that his team got a big boost by defeating its arch-rivals.
"I am happy for these guys to get a positive result from the effort that they have put in," he said.
In the 13th minute, David Garcia received the ball from Brady Mason on the left side of the field. He got a good look at the goal and he beat Kearney goalie Edwin Castillo to give North Platte the lead.
"It was a hard-earned goal," Whitney said. "That gave us the confidence that we could have a successful day today."
The Bulldog defense didn't let up after Garcia's goal. With freshman Will Phillips coming in for the starter, Dakota Guenin, at the keeper position at around the 20 minute mark, they held the lead.
Then with three minutes remaining in the first half, Elijah Vieyra won a scrum for the ball near the Kearney goal and he put it in to make it 2-0.
Kearney (7-5) made a statement after halftime when Tristen Crook beat Guenin, who came back in for Phillips to start the second half, to bring the Bearcats to within one goal in the 46th minute.
But North Platte's defense responded and it held the fort down by not allowing Kearney to tie the game and get into a rhythm that would have changed the course of the game.
In the 60th minute, Mason scored to make it 3-1 and from there, it appeared that the game could turn out exactly how Whitney and the Bulldogs wanted.
In some of his team's close losses, Whitney said that NPHS was only a couple of breaks away from winning. On Tuesday, they appeared more aggressive than they have been the rest of this season and they created those breaks.
"I've been talking to them about working about what their normal comfort level is," the first year head coach said.
Just under ten minutes later, Crook scored again to make it a one-goal game once again. But the Dawgs stepped up on defense one more time and they finished the game.
It was NPHS' first victory over Kearney since 2010, when the Bulldogs, led by star goalie Hunter Haney, defeated a Bearcat team that ended up making it to the state semifinals in a shootout on a cold and rainy night under the lights at Bauer Field.
"It wasn't pretty, the whole game but we stayed in it mentally," Whitney said. "This win was a team effort."