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Tale of Two Halves: Hawklets Pull Away to Beat Tigers

Senior forward Liam Ver Meer looks for an opening to get by a Lee’s Summit defender. Ver Meer would tally one of Rockhurst’s goals in their 4-0 win over the Tigers on Sept. 14, 2023.

An early defensive effort gave way to a flurry of goals as Rockhurst soccer pulled away to beat Lee Summit 4-0 Thursday night.

The Hawklets spent the majority of the first half on defense. Lee’s Summit took a lot of shots on goal, including two close misses, while Rockhurst couldn’t get any good looks. Sophomore goalie Luke Strueby stood tall, including a diving save on a breakaway opportunity for the Tigers. The score at the end of the first half was knotted at zero.

The second half, however, was different. In the 53rd minute, Rockhurst sophomore forward Asende Welongo scored the first goal of the game, assisted by junior forward Uchan Kohring. Less than two minutes later, senior forward Liam Ver Meer scored on a hard shot assisted by Welongo.

Then, misfortune struck Rockhurst, as Welongo injured his leg on a challenge. He was helped off the field and didn’t return.

“Asende is a special player, but we know if he has to miss any games that his teammates will step up,” head coach Matt Darby said.

Rockhurst didn’t let the loss of one of their top playmakers slow them down, though, as junior defender Wyatt Hawkinson floated a ball right over the goalie for junior defender Thomas Deppe to tap in. The Hawklets then closed out the game with a goal off a penalty kick by sophomore forward Aidan Poynter.

“We liked the ball movement and creativity on the offensive side of the ball, and our defensive shape and effort continues to improve,” Darby said.

After a slow first half, players say that first goal in the 53rd minute helped break them out of their lull.

I think we were asleep in the first half of the game,” Poynter said, “but after we scored in the second half, the goals just kept on coming and our momentum picked up.”

This was the first meeting between Rockhurst and Lee’s Summit since last year’s district championship match, which Rockhurst won 4-1.

This win also marked the third consecutive shutout by the Rockhurst defense. It also bumped Rockhurst’s national ranking from five to four, according to the United Soccer Coaches. Players appreciate that special recognition, but don’t let it make them complacent.

“Our standards are higher…especially for a program that continues to perform year after year,” senior midfielder and captain Bakary Kante said. “Obviously it’s something to be proud of, but we have a lot of work to do to stay in the position and even look to go higher.”

Thursday’s victory moved Rockhurst to a perfect 7-0 on the season.


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About the Contributor
Ted Truebner
Ted Truebner, Staff Reporter
This is my second year writing for Prep News. I originally joined newspaper to add on to my college resume, however, I stayed in the class because I liked the freedom I received in choosing my own stories and being able to write freely. In this class, I am forced to go out and find information by myself, opposed to other classes. I also enjoy getting an insider view on events going on at the school. Outside of newspaper, a lot of my time is spent playing lacrosse, as I play all year for the school and club teams. During the summer, I work as a lifeguard at Fairway pool. After high school, I plan to either take the political route or go to journalism school, however, I have not completely made up my mind on what route I want to take.
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