WICHITA – The Andover Trojan soccer team put together an impressive display on Thursday night against a formidable opponent just two days after losing to Haysville-Campus. The Trojans showcased skill as well as resiliency in what turned into a 3-1 victory at Wichita Trinity Academy.
Andover once again played without senior captain Cem Worpel, who is still working his way back from an injury suffered a week earlier in a win over Newton. However, Worpel still made his presence felt from the bench as the primary vocal leader, shouting instructions and encouraging his teammates.
"I keep telling him to sit down because I don’t want to him to get too excited and accidently injure himself," Andover head coach Jose Gonzalez said. "It’s good to have to a presence like that, whenever you have a leader that’s vocal and can lead a team, even through an injury."
The rest of the Trojans made Worpel and the coaching staff proud as they took the lead with a pair of goals in the first half and then held off the Knights long enough to claim a victory against Trinity for the first time in four years.
Both sides were eager to attack right from the start. Trinity nearly tallied just two minutes in as Seth Barclay’s shot missed just to the left of goal.
In the 7th minute, Andover’s Joseph Rather hit a long ball downfield that was tracked down by Cooper Brucker. Brucker eluded a defender and fired a shot that caromed home into the bottom right corner to give the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
Not long after, the Knights came very close to getting the equalizer as the ball took a deflection in the penalty box and bounced off the left post before the Trojans cleared the danger.
At the midway point of the first half, a header from Trinity’s Elliot Casamento just missed to the left and then in the 30th minute, another header from Casamento glanced off the crossbar and out of play. At that point, the Trojans were living dangerously.
But then with three minutes to go before halftime, Rather once again played a long ball downfield. This time, Andover striker Chase Chanminaraj got a foot to it as Trinity keeper Alex Kirsten-Westgard came out to challenge, Chanminaraj chipped the ball over the head of Kirsten-Westgard and into goal for a 2-0 Trojan lead. The goal stunned the Knights who looked at one another in frustration and confusion.
"(Wednesday), specifically we worked on a drill where we were putting power into (shots)," Gonzalez said. "One of the things we’ve been struggling with this season is just getting shots on frame from distance."
Andover went into halftime pleased to be up by a pair of goals, but they certainly knew the job was only half finished.
Early in the second half, the Knights began to press forward more frequently. They finally broke through in the 51st minute with a goal courtesy of Landon Green. And for a while it seemed the hosts were poised to level the match.
However with 20 minutes to play, the Trojans began to reassert themselves on the attack and earned more possession. This helped to stave off the Trinity comeback effort.
With the outcome still in doubt going into the final minute, it was Andover midfielder Jack Moll who played the ball forward toward Chanminaraj. Kirsten-Westgard vacated his goal looking to snare the ball and help the Knights form one last gasp of an attack. But the Trojan striker got it to first, staying onside and after he skated by the keeper, he simply tapped the ball into the empty net for his second goal which put the game away.
Gonzalez was proud of the total team effort.
"Our bench and rotation made sure we stayed fresh and maintained possession, even though we got a little shaky there for a little bit," Gonzalez said. "I’m really proud of the way the bench players came on and did their job."
The Trojans will take the field again next Tuesday at Trojan Stadium against Arkansas City.
Halftime: Andover 2-0. Andover: Brucker (1), Chanminaraj (2). Trinity: Green (1). Shots: Trinity 15, Andover 12. Saves: Andover: Mann 6; Trinity: Kirsten-Westgard 4.