By ISAAC DEER
Seaman’s girls soccer team is off to an undefeated 3-0-0 start, with two of its early regular-season wins coming from teams that were in state tournaments a year ago.
In Seaman’s home opener last Tuesday, the Lady Vikings knocked off Class 6A Manhattan. 3-1. Manhattan finished fourth in the state last year. Then on Thursday, Seaman defeated former Centennial League foe Emporia, 6-0.
Seaman started the second week of the season on the right foot Tuesday with a 3-2 city defeat over Cair Paravel Latin.
The Lions return a nearly identical team from last season after their fourth-place finish in the 4A-1A state tournament.
It hasn’t been the most leisurely start to the season with Seaman’s high-quality opponents, but the Vikings are happy with how they have found a way to handle the challenges.
“It’s been a great start,” Seaman coach Tim Nussbaum said. “We just want to keep getting better every day, and we want to keep this thing going.”
Seaman had to overcome adversity in Tuesday’s game against Cair Paravel. The Lady Vikings had overwhelmingly more attempted shots than the Lions in the first half, but nothing was hitting the net between the pipes.
In addition to the missed shots, Seaman committed many offsides penalties with its bursting speed down the field. Seaman had several opportunities to convert more goals in the first half, with its squad spending most of the contest in Cair Paravel’s territory.
Although Seaman had missed some shots, the Lady Vikings had excellent forward play.
“We connect well in the middle and get it out to our forwards,” Seaman junior Marin Schuler said. “We have really good chemistry when we are on the field together. We also have really good and selfless attitudes, which help us out more.”
Cair Paravel (1-1-1) struggled to get pressure on Seaman’s backline in the first half. With both offenses having their fair share of missed opportunities, the contest was a 0-0 tie at the half.
The second half became a shootout, with Cair Paravel drawing the first goal. Standout sophomore Zahra Friess gave the Lions a momentum boost with a goal off an assist from junior Katherine Keys.
The Lions couldn’t cherish their goal for long, committing a handball near their goal. A free kick was awarded to Schuler, who has been battling a pulled hip flexor injury. Schuler kicked it into the net for her first goal of the day and tied the game up, 1-1.
“I had to take a deep breath because it was nerve-wracking,” Schuler said. “I just told myself to stay calm and put it in the corner.”
Seaman wasted no time breaking the tie. Cair Paravel would play senior Jaycee Schumann widely. Schumann would carry the ball out in front of her and placed the ball right in front of the defending Lion.
Senior Brooklyn Yingling nailed the perfectly placed ball and scored the goal to give Seaman a 2-1 lead.
“It was brilliant,” Nussbaum said. “It was perfect outside forward play.”
Cair Paravel answered back to Yingling’s goal with a strike from freshman KellyAnn Chada. Chada’s goal tied the game, 2-2. Chada’s goal was critical as Seaman wasn’t allowing Cair Paravel to break away and get shots on the goal.
With little time remaining, Seaman was on the verge of getting another shot in Cair Paravel’s goal. But, to keep the game tied, the Lions goalkeeper ran far from the box and made a slide tackle on Schuler to try and kick the ball away.
The referee blew his whistle, which gave Seaman a penalty kick opportunity to break the 2-2 tie with less than five minutes remaining.
As Schuler started her motion to kick the ball in for a penalty kick, the referee blew his whistle again, ruling that Schuler started her movement early. As a result, although the ball went into the net, Schuler would have to re-kick the ball.
Schuler capitalized on a gutsy second-chance opportunity converting a successful penalty kick. That kick gave Schuler her second goal of the day and, most importantly, gave Seaman a 3-2 edge with the clock ticking fast.
“I went a little early on the penalty kick,” Schuler said. “I just needed to stay calm, focus on what I can control and put it in.”
Cair Paravel couldn’t tie the game up, and Seaman survived with a 3-2 road win.
“I was happy that we pushed through,” Nussbaum said. “We found a way to beat the offsides trap. I was most proud of our girls and the perseverance that they showed. We found a way to win in a tough environment with (Sunflower) being a small field. I was just pleased that we were able to grab a win.”
Seaman will host Lawrence High on Thursday night. That contest is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.
Cair Paravel will play in the Titan Classic Tournament hosted by Wichita South starting Thursday. The time and opponent are to be determined.
SEAMAN 3, CAIR PARAVEL 2
Seaman (3-0-0) 0 3 – 3
Cair Paravel (1-1-1) 0 2 – 2
Seaman – Goals: Schuler (2), Yingling. Assists: Schumann.
Cair Paravel – Goals: Friess, Chada. Assists: Keys.