On a night that was supposed to be all about celebrating the careers of the University High senior soccer players, it was a freshman who stole the spotlight.
Freshman forward Connor Kirkpatrick netted two goals in the Cubs’ 3-1 win over Parkview Baptist to take control of the top of District 5-III.
Kirkpatrick’s first goal of the night came in the 22nd minute when he fired in a shot from the corner of the goal box.
But it was his second goal in the 43rd minute that came as the biggest surprise of the night, taking Kirkpatrick himself a few seconds to realize what happened.
From 20 yards out, Kirkpatrick bent a ball around several defenders to hit just inside the far post for a goal that still had U-High coach Chris Mitchell awestruck after the game.
“Being a freshman and coming into the high school situation, there’s a lot of grown men out there at times, but (Kirkpatrick) has excelled — as you can see tonight, scoring two goals,” Mitchell said. “At the beginning (of the season) he was a little reluctant to shoot, but as the season has gone along, he’s become more confident.”
The U-High seniors weren’t left out of the game entirely, though, with striker Major Mittendorf putting the Cubs on the board in the 12th minute when he pulled down a ball off a Thomas Downs free kick and put it in the back of the net.
As a team, U-High outshot the Eagles 21-8, including 13 shots on goal compared to the Eagles’ three.
Mitchell said he would have liked to see his team turn more of its opportunities into goals — especially the Cubs’ 11 second-half shots — but remained encouraged by the sheer number of chances they produced.
Mittendorf couldn’t argue with his coach.
“(The offense) was nice, but I maybe could have put in a few more,” said Mittendorf. “The (Parkview Baptist) keeper made a couple great saves. We probably could have put in three or four more, but he made some good saves down to the end.”
Aysar Sheikha put in the lone score of the night for Parkview Baptist in the 59th minute despite taking a hard hit during his kick.
Sheikha was responsible for most of the Eagles’ tries on goal Wednesday night as they attempted to attack the Cubs with long balls over the defense.
“Like I told my boys, you can’t make mistakes, you can’t get away with not playing your best game, and I don’t think we played our best game,” Parkview Baptist coach Roger Charcap said. “At least as a consolation prize we were able to get a goal and kind of keep the score a little even. But they were the better team tonight, plain and simple.”
UNIVERSITY LAB GIRLS 3, PARKVIEW BAPTIST 0: The U-High girls soccer team sent its seniors out on a high note as well in a win over district rival Parkview Baptist.
U-High got out to a slow start, scoring only once in the first half when senior Maddy Catalanotto put in a rebound from point-blank range. Senior Jessica Shelby sealed the win in the second half with a pair of goals, including a perfectly struck free kick to the far post from more than 30 yards out.
“We were lucky, to be honest,” U-High coach Melissa Ramsey said. “We escaped one. Parkview took it to us. They were the better team tonight, but somehow we escaped with a win.”