Monday, October 19, 2009

Kewps settle in after turmoil

Kewps settle in after turmoil
Midseason change doesn’t faze Hickman.

By Steve Walentik

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Photo by Parker Eshelman :
Adam Taylor took over as Hickman’s soccer coach after Larry Thornburg resigned in the middle of the season.


It’s been two weeks since the Hickman boys soccer season was thrown into upheaval by Coach Larry Thornburg’s resignation in the wake of a Sept. 30 loss to crosstown rival Rock Bridge.

But his departure really hasn’t been the disturbance that it could have been.

The Kewpies dropped their first game without Thornburg on the bench but have won three of four since Adam Taylor took over as the interim coach. Their latest victory was a 2-0 shutout of Glendale yesterday at LeMone Field.

“It was a change, that’s for sure, but I think we’ve adapted pretty well,” senior forward Taylor Cox said. “It could have caused a lot of distractions, but we didn’t let it get to us that much, which is good.”

Some players said the change was welcome after Hickman’s 4-4-2 start. Thornburg’s system put an emphasis on getting the ball to the wings and using crossing passes to generate scoring opportunities. The Kewpies scored fewer than two goals in six of their first 10 games, including the 2-1 defeat to the Bruins.

“I think all the guys were looking for something, to make some changes at that point,” senior midfielder Matt Baker said. “But we were all unsure of what we were going to do with the whole coaching thing. Now that we’ve had a few weeks, things have kind of settled down.”

The Hickman players have started to adjust to Taylor, who coached many of them on the junior varsity team over the past three seasons.

“He gives us more positive feedback and tries not to put us down but helps us along the way,” senior forward George Plakorus said. “He lets us learn from our mistakes, and we feel more free.”

Taylor has tinkered with Hickman’s plan of attack, putting another forward on the field in an effort to generate more scoring chances.

“The first couple games I watched, I just didn’t feel like we were going to the goal enough and wanted to try to get some more shots on goal,” Taylor said.

It hasn’t paid immediate dividends. The Kewpies only managed one goal in Friday night’s loss to visiting Kickapoo.

But Hickman fared better in yesterday’s game against Glendale, dominating the possession and putting steady pressure on its opponent. The Kewpies found the net in the 37th minute when sophomore Alex Holliday finished off a cross from Plakorus at the far post, and they took a 1-0 lead into intermission.

The defense and goalkeeper Chuck Wilson turned back every Falcons scoring chance. Hickman added an insurance goal with about eight minutes remaining when Colin Janicek fired the ball into the penalty area, Glendale goalie Jordan Pitts misplayed it and it came to Baker, who drove it into the net.

“We have twice as many shots as we did when we had Coach Thornburg, so we’re just going to get more chances,” Cox said. “We’re just not quite finishing right now.”

The Kewpies have two weeks to work on that before opening district play Nov. 2. They’ve already dropped games against district foes Jefferson City and Rock Bridge, but both defeats came by one goal.

“Our No. 1 goal is to be ready when playoffs start,” Taylor said, “so these kind of games are good work and good tests for us.”

Reach Steve Walentik at 573-815-1788 or e-mail swalentik@columbiatribune.com.

This article was published on page B7 of the Sunday, October 18, 2009 edition of The Columbia Daily Tribune. Click here to Subscribe.

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Driving Directions

  • WAYNESVILLE : Take 63 South Towards Jeff City. Take US-54 W thru Osage Beach to Camdenton. Take MO Hwy 5 South to Lebanon , MO.Continue on MO Hwy 5 South to I-44 E towards Waynesville, MO. Take Exit 156, toward WAYNESVILLE/FORT LEONARD WOOD. Turn LEFT onto HIGHWAY H/I-44-BL/MO-H. Continue to follow I-44-BL.Turn RIGHT onto MO-17/W I-44-BL.1001 HISTORIC 66 W.
  • QUINCY TOURNAMENT IN QUINCY ILLINOIS: From Columbia Take 70 West to Kingdom City. Take 54 North to Mexico and then 54 east and north (54/19) to Laddonia. From Laddonia take 19 North to New London and then 61 North to Hannibal. When you get to Hannibal, you will need to take a right at the sign that says Quincy or to Illinois or to Springfield which is hwy 72 across the river. You will then pick up Highway 172 north to Quincy. In Quincy take the Broadway exit and go left.The fields we are playing on are located on State Street. The streets in Quincy that run West to East are numbered streets. The Mississippi River is to the West and the street numbers get higher the further East you go. When you enter from highway 172 the first street you will see is 48th street. Go left. At State St turn right and the park is a few blocks on the right. The Paul Dennis Complex is located on State between 36th and 48th street.
  • JEFFERSON CITY- 179 SOCCER PARK: Take 63 to Jeff City. Across the river take Hwy 50 toward Sedalia. Take the hwy 179 exit and turn right onto 179. The soccer park is about 3 miles on your left.
  • DESMET High school from CBC High school (about 3 miles): leave CBC and turn left (east) onto N Forty Dr. Turn right onto Conway Rd. Follow Conway Rd to left at S New Ballas Rd and it is about 1.2 miles to the high school at 233 N. New Ballas Rd.
  • CBC High school in St Louis: about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Take I-70 east to US40E/US61S just past Wentzville. Head toward Chesterfield/Forrest Park. About 23 miles to Mason Rd exit. Take S Mason Rd north back over the highway. Turn right on N. Forty Dr and the high school is on your left about a mile at 1850 De la Salle Dr.
  • CAMDENTON: Hwy 54 out of Jeff City to Hwy 5 in Camdenton. Turn left (east) on to Hwy 5. Continue on Hwy 5 for 5 or 6 blocks and can see the school campus on your left (north side of road). Turn on to Dare Blvd and the stadium is a block or two behind the schools.
  • SMITHTON TOURNAMENT: I-70 west to Booneville. Exit on Hwy 5 south. From Hwy 5 take Hwy 50 west. Go to Hwy W and turn south. Follow Hwy W into Smithton. Turn east on to E. Washington St. (I think this is a continuation of Hwy W), Turn right (south) on to Myrtle Ave and the school is 550 Myrtle Ave. Games are at the school.
  • ROLLA: Hwy 63 out of Jefferson City. Continue on Hwy 63 into Rolla. Turn left (east) on to 10th St. Continue on 10th St about 8 blocks to N. Cedar St. High School is at corner of N. Cedar and 10th St. Soccer field is behind the high school.