The Augusta soccer team traveled to Ark City last week to compete in the Bulldog Invitational mid-season tournament. Augusta entered the tournament with a 1-1 record, and began by competing against the tournament newcomer, Coffeyville-Field Kindley. Coffeyville came out strong, as the size on their defensive unit stifled the Orioles, limiting their scoring chances. Coffeyville was able to take a commanding lead of 4-1 going in to half time, with Augusta's lone goal coming from Freshman Payton Ball, his first goal of his Oriole career. Coffeyville was able to tack on another goal in the second half to win the game 5-1.
“We just came out flat and on our heels and Coffeyville made us pay for that,” said Orioles’ head coach Dusty Buell.
“They were the better team and deserved that win, but I think our team has much more to offer than what we put on the field that game."
The Orioles were then matched up with a Mulvane team that was full of confidence coming off a 6-0 win over El Dorado. Augusta dominated the time of possession and the duo of sophomores in the middle of Anthony Orocio and Wyatt Pankratz controlled the game from the inside out.
"They were instrumental in finding those seams and distributing the ball where it needed to be,” explained Buell.
Augusta freshman Payton Ball recorded a hat trick, scoring all three of the Orioles’ goals in their 3-0 victory over Mulvane.
"I was proud of how this team responded, not only coming back from some adversity and tough loss, but also playing with injuries to a couple of key starters. The depth of this team is what really sets them apart,” added Buell.
In the Orioles’ final match of the tournament, they were faced with a matchup against the home team, with second place on the line.
Ark City came grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in the first half before Payton Ball was fouled in the box and converted a penalty kick late in the first half.
The Orioles tied the game at with another goal from Ball, before conceding their lead to Ark City on a handball in the box that resulted in a Penalty Kick goal for the Bulldogs, bringing Ark City back on top 3-2. The Orioles proved their resolve late in the second half with a goal from another Oriole freshman. Dominick Rios tied the game with a nice left-footed finish from the top of the box.
The game remained tied 3-3 at the end of regulation, and neither team was able to find the back of the net after two overtimes. The Orioles and Bulldogs went to a thrilling penalty kick shootout to decide the game.
Jakob Bergkamp stepped up with the pressure on, and covered the game-winning penalty to ensure the Oriole’s second-place finish.
"It was an emotional win for us. I am just proud of our guys, the way they handled being down and the way they fought to bring us back. Every one of our guys did something right to put us in a position to win. This is not a team of individuals, but rather a team that wants and needs one another,” said Buell.
Augusta freshman Payton Ball finished the tournament with six goals in three games.
Augusta is now 3-2 on the season, and has already matched it’s win total from the 2017 season.
The Orioles have a tough week ahead as they have a home contest with Buhler on Tuesday at Hillier Stadium and will head back to Ark City on Thursday.