A mere 43 days ago, Wichita South pulled off a shocking upset in stunning style, stomping Wichita North 3-0.
North (12-4-2) fared well the rest of the season, earning the No. 4 seed in its regional. South (7-9-1) followed an up-and-down season to the 10-seed, but continued its rash of upsets by taking down No. 3 Maize in the regional semifinal.
On Thursday, North received an opportunity for redemption against the Titans. The Redskins learned from past transgressions, and atoned for their mistakes with a 4-3 victory to move on to the quarterfinals with the regional championship hardware in tow.
“That first game, we gave up so many goals,” said North's Juan Barron. “This game, I think we brought it.”
Both offenses revved up early.
Jesus Fernandez put in a breakaway goal to give North the first advantage. Dagmawe Teklu not only answered with the equalizer, but also buried a header into the net to give South the go-ahead goal for a 2-1 lead.
“Dagmawe, he's the engine of the team,” said South head coach Johnny Martin. “He doesn't ever quit. He's absolutely brilliant.”
With 11 minutes to go in the first half, North's Cobi Black loaded the Redskin roster onto his back and carried the team. Two quick strikes put North back ahead 3-2.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Black said. “They were stepping up too slow, and I would just make the run behind.”
South's Maurice Diaz won a scuffle with the keeper right before half to knot the game 3-3 going into intermission.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Barron kept the rash of scoring going with a goal for a 4-3 North edge.
“At the beginning, we weren't really spreading out,” Barron said. “In the second half, that's what I thought I had to do – just spread out and just get that opening.”
But after seven combined goals in 43 minutes, the scoring stopped.
North never capitalized on deep runs at the net. When the Redskin offense got close, South keeper James Everett stoned them. Everett's offense, however, never mustered a strong threat on the other end, sealing the Titans' fate.
“They hunkered down,” Martin said. “I think I looked over at one point, and he had six in the back.”
The Redskins fended off South, learning from the previous meeting. It keeps North pressing ahead in the postseason.
“We just stuck with our plan to work together as a team, and try to take advantage of our strength on the outside,” said North head coach Brent Lewis. “We brought our heart. It was thumping in our chest today.”