Pittsburg continued its impressive early season play with a 6-1 Southeast Kansas League victory Thursday night over Coffeyville.
The Dragon attack started early with a goal by Ricky Sanchez (assisted by Trevin Jameson) just 3 minutes, 18 seconds into the match and received a pair of goals each by Danilo Pinheiro and Moira Myers. With the win, Pittsburg moved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEK League.
“I've been really happy with the progression,” Pittsburg head coach Sean Lauderdale said. “Again, the players have worked really hard to learn new formations and new roles within those formations, and I think we've been successful in them learning those roles and getting comfortable with those roles in the formations and working together as a cohesive unit.”
Coffeyville scored its lone goal with 18:14 remaining in the first half. Otherwise, the Purple Dragon defense was a sturdy brick wall with the final brick goalkeeper Sullivan Lauderdale.
“I really think the defense is doing a phenomenal job of supporting the offense in the attack,” Coach Lauderdale said. “We always teach our players the attack actually starts with the defense and so, I've been real happy to see that tight integration. One of the things you'll see in our formation is that we really have defensive players moving up into attack positions. That's been a very successful strategy for us to capitalize on.”
Defensive players like, for example, Lukas McConnell have obvious skills with and without the ball.
“I've taken a kind of radical approach with coaching,” Lauderdale said. “Through some advice from a seasoned coach when I started out, we look for players who have a lot of speed and a lot of ball skill to play on the backline so they can get involved with the attack and make a difference from the back, not just putting all our best runners, our best dribblers, our best shooters upfront. Some of those guys on the back line can really do some damage, so we're excited about that.”
Myers, a senior, scored a pair of goals, highlighted by a corner kick which bounced into the goal untouched by any Coffeyville defenders. She closed out the scoring with 14:37 left in the match.
“It's a big night for her,” Lauderdale said. “She's real excited. She's always in an assist position and she's happy being in that position but any player who plays the game loves to move up in the formation and actually take an attack position and score a goal off that.”
Pittsburg won its season opener against Paola back in August and since then, two players have joined the varsity lineup, Pinheiro (a Brazilian exchange student who led the team in goals last season) and Mayer DeLeon, who scored a goal Thursday against the Golden Tornado.
“Danilo came a little bit late because he had some paperwork issues getting through Immigration,” Lauderdale said. “Mayer, I'm not sure where he was, but they both came a little bit later. They've both been quickly able to figure out the formations and their role and have integrated fairly seamlessly. We're real happy with how they're doing.”
Page 2 of 2 - Pittsburg earned a sweep with a 2-1 win in the JV contest.
Saturday will be a showcase for Pittsburg soccer — a 1 p.m. match against Carl Junction (Mo.) and Community Appreciation Day, which features free hot dogs (SOLD!), performances by the YMCA Company Prep and Company dance squads, a JV halftime match against two 12-and-under teams (Pittsburg Lightening vs. SEKSA Miners), prize drawings, a national anthem performance by the St. Mary's Colgan High School Band and music provided by DJ Brandon Nivens of U-Rock 99.1 FM.
“Big game,” Lauderdale said. “Saturday's going to be a big game. CJ's a tough team, they've got a lot of speed, we'll be really challenged by their speed but we're very excited to play them and to have the community come out to see that game and get a feel for what organized, competitive soccer can look like in the area. We're excited to have the community come out and to show our appreciation for everything the community does to support us.”