Augusta Orioles soccer score three first half goals to march into 4A-1A state quarterfinals

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
The Augusta Orioles celebrate their second regional championship in three years after beating Winfield 3-2 on Thursday, Oct. 28.

AUGUSTA, Kansas — It's not how they drew it up by the Augusta Orioles boys' soccer team punched their ticket into the state quarterfinals on Thursday night. 

Kaden Kearney scored two goals to be the difference in the 3-2 win over Winfield in the Class 4A-1A playoffs. 

"Just like every other time this kids are down, they find a way they fight through that adversity," Augusta head coach Dusty Buell said. "They come out on top."

That's what the Orioles did, they found a way to fight through it all after falling behind in such a massive game. Winfield gave Augusta multiple reasons to bow of out of the match. Whether it was losing their starting keeper for the second half to falling behind 1-0. 

They didn't though. The Orioles showed real grit in a match where they had to beat a team for a third time this season. 

"It's so tough to beat a team three times," Buell said. "I'm so proud of these guys for continuing to fight."

Kyan Towles put the Vikings ahead in the fourth minute on a breakaway goal. While Winfield tried to be successful with the through ball all match long, they connected on one early on and Towles was able to slip it by Peyton Carselowey for the early 1-0 lead. 

It didn't last long as senior Payton Ball sent a cross near the post two minutes later trying to find Kearney but it was deflected by a Viking defender and fell at the feet of Dominic Rios, who was able to tap in for the equalizer.

From that point on, the Orioles (16-2) dictated the pace and possession for the rest of the match. Any opportunities by Winfield (11-7) were with the through ball. They used it to as the counter attack to the aggressive offensive ability of Augusta.

Carselowey collided with an Augusta player in the 12th minute, forcing him out of the game for a moment and the Orioles went with back up freshman keeper, Cooper Steuven. They didn't really miss a beat as the back line was able to keep most of the opportunities by Winfield limited. 

Though, this Winfield team is much improved over year's past under head coach Charles Osen. After beating McPherson on penalty kicks after four overtimes on Tuesday, they never appeared to be missing their legs. They kept pushing and pushing. 

It wasn't until the 67th minute when Drake Lowe found a rebound for the goal to pull Winfield within one. 

That would be all they would get. 

"I'm happy to see their [Winfield] success because they're peaking at the right time," Buell said. " I have so much respect for Charles [Osen] because I don't know where they get the players but he gets the best out of them all the time."

Kaden Kearney made sure Augusta was going to take this match. He scored two goals in 64 seconds as the first one saw Connor Inlow place a free kick right at the foot of Kearney for the tap in for the go-ahead goal. The keeper was frozen as he had no idea what happened. 

64 seconds later, he did it again. 

Kearney took a header off a long corner kick from Ball and sent it into the back of the net for the 3-1, Orioles lead. 

That's the lead they would take into the break.

For Augusta, having players like Kearney and Inlow on the pitch make the world of difference as they sat out for various reasons in the loss to Wichita Trinity last week. To the point, the Augusta student newspaper, The Orioledove into why the Orioles chose to sit the seniors

Buell was impressed with the research and the story by the Augusta students. 

"I've never been more proud to have student journalists dig into the things that really matter out here," Buell said. "I just want to I want our newspaper staff to know how proud I am to make sure student journalism is well and happy and I think it is here in Augusta."

With a full roster back and heading into the state quarterfinals, the Orioles know sky is the limit. They will play Topeka Hayden on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at Hillier Stadium at 6 p.m. with a chance at the state semifinals in Topeka on Nov. 5 and 6.

"This is what we do, this is who we are," Buell said. "This is our brand of soccer. It's gritty, it's trusting and it's everything that we need in order win this title."

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.