Friday, November 6, 2009

Hickman Wins District Crown

Kewpies pull off another surprise.
By Andrew Wagaman
Friday, November 6, 2009

With the Hickman soccer program in tumult at the beginning of October, few could have foreseen the turnaround that followed in the next month.

“We had a really good team, but we had trouble fitting the pieces together,” junior Colin Janicek said. “I think we finally started to mesh after all the trouble. It was difficult, but we got it done.”

After the Kewpies’ 2-0 victory over sixth-ranked Jefferson City last night, Coach Adam Taylor reminisced on the rough transition midseason after former head Coach Larry Thornburg resigned.

I think it took a week or two for them to understand exactly what I wanted and to actually trust me,” Taylor said. “After we got a couple of wins, they thought, ‘Oh, maybe he knows what he’s talking about.’ ”

And after a 2-1 regular-season-finale loss to Camdenton, Hickman gritted its teeth and jammed its way through the postseason. A once middling defense suddenly became invincible and hasn’t given up a single goal in the last three games.

“The back line has gone from mediocre to just outstanding in two weeks,” Taylor said. “It’s been incredible.”

Janicek, who scored the game-winning goal 67 minutes into the championship game, felt the Kewpies were able to knock off two teams that beat them in the regular season by peaking after gradual improvement since Taylor took over.

“We bonded with Coach Taylor a little bit more,” he said. “We finally started connecting, settled down and came into our own together. Once we started connecting on passes, we started finishing, which is probably the biggest thing.”

It was a crisp pass and a strong finish that untied a scoreless game that seemed destined to go to overtime. George Plakorus deftly stopped a pass by Matthew Baker from rolling out of bounds and then sent a cross to the middle of the box. Janicek one-timed the ball into the left side of the net.

“George was just being George and did something creative,” Janicek said. “Kirt” Harris, a midfielder “went in first, and I thought he was going to get a touch on it. When he let it through, I thought, ‘that’s mine.’ ”

The goal came two minutes after a score by Alex Holliday was called back as offside. Taylor was disappointed by the call but had a feeling that the tide had turned.

“I knew that the call would give us some momentum,” he said. “We still put it in the back of the net, and the guys got a lift from that.”

Plakorus capped off a remarkable personal resurgence with a breakaway insurance goal in the 77th minute. Since the game against Camdenton — in which he scored his first goal — he has netted one a game.

“He’s just come through perfectly for us in a crucial time of the year,” Taylor said. “Some kids step up” in the postseason, “and George has definitely picked it up.”

While the Kewpies’ run after the loss to Camdenton might seem strange, Taylor says it has not been due to newfound confidence as much as a revelation that they needed to finish better.

Hickman may have another shot at Camdenton in the Class 3 Sectional if the Lakers beat Rolla in their district final. The Kewpies will be ready for either at 6 on Tuesday night.

“We need to keep playing the way we have been — with shut-out defense,” Janicek said. “We need to take care of chances when we get them.”

Photo by Parker Eshelman
Published November 6, 2009
Colin Janicek celebrates after scoring a goal during Hickman’s 2-0 victory over Jefferson City in Thursday night’s district title game.

This article was published on page B1 of the Friday, November 6, 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.