By Christopher Tenpenny
For the first time since 2017, the Harrisonville soccer team is advancing to state following a 1-0 victory over Chillicothe in the Class 2 Quarterfinals Saturday at Harrisonville.
“I’m just proud of the guys,” Harrisonville head coach Dan Coleman said. “We’ve had an up and down season, tumultuous some would even all it. The growth they’ve made as a team and the cohesion that has resulted from those trials and tribulations just makes it all worth it.”
For the second straight game, it was Tucker Lawson who scored the game-winning goal. With 8:11 left on the clock, Lawson received a pass from Zane Masden. Lawson was able to get behind the defense, create some space and fire a right-footed shot on goal. The shot was low, but the velocity was there to zip past the Chillicothe goalkeeper and into the back of the net for the lone goal of the game.
The Harrisonville fans erupted as the players celebrated the goal. Senior Dawson Schrock was the first to embrace Lawson in a hug after the goal before the rest of the team swarmed around them.
“It was a lot of build up,” Schrock said. “We were fighting tooth and nail all game and we had a lot of opportunities. To finally put one in the back of the net was a lot of relief. It was awesome.”
Chillicothe was coming off a 20-win season and had won 18 in a row. Harrisonville’s ability to adapt to the Hornets style of play may have been the difference in the win.
“We knew Chillicothe liked to play physical and direct. While our boys like to play a more finesse style, they were tough today and rose to the occasion. What’s special abut them is they can adjust, they can be that chameleon and play how they need to play to win.”
The Cats have had a different road than most state teams. They started the season winning just two of its first eight games and then lost four of its final five before the district tournament. The team remained positive and rallied around one another.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to make it to state,” Schrock said. “Then we started and we couldn’t win and we just had to find a way to pick one another up. Just preserving through all the tough times and the losses, it seems like everything finally came together.”
Harrisonville will travel to Fenton where they will take on Whitfield at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park tomorrow at 5 p.m. The winner will play in the championship Saturday against either Perryville or Excelsior Springs.