Six starters with little to no varsity experience can sometimes be a cause for nerves.
After not finding the net in the first 40 minutes, Derby overpowered Wichita Northwest in the second half with three unanswered goals in a 3-1 season-opening win.
The Grizzlies were held to one shot on goal for the game and only scored on an own goal from the Panther defense.
“We started great,” Derby coach Paul Burke said. “It just took us awhile to figure out what was going on and finish the ball. [Assistant coach] Chad [Schwartz] said we had at least eight to nine dangerous opportunities in the first half, we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
Senior Saul Munoz tied the game at 1-1 with a header in the 51’. The goal came off an overlapping cross from junior Caden Miller, who was making his first varsity start on defense.
“His leadership is amazing for really only being with us for two years,” Burke said of Miller. “… What an amazing ball, though. We’ve been working on these plays and they just take time. For them to see it in a game though is different than in training. A lot harder to do it in a game.”
Senior Omar Vielmas set up for a corner in the (55’), only to find the head of a Wichita Northwest defender and give Derby a 2-1 advantage.
Senior forward Michael Self gave the Panthers their third and final goal as he beat Grizzly goalie Yusuf Gharb on a 1-on-1 in the 77’.
The score provided a needed glimpse to some of Derby’s younger players, who saw similar shots soar high earlier in the game.
“Some of these players are sophomores,” Burke said. “Put in these spots, they were probably nervous as heck wondering, ‘What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?’… there are a few nerves, but they all got out [on Friday night].”
Titan Classic at Wichita South (Sept. 2-7)
Monday, Sept. 2
Manhattan vs. Wichita Heights, 9:00a
Wichita East vs. Dodge City, 11:00a
Derby vs. Wichita Trinity, 1:00p
Bishop Carroll vs. Liberal, 3:00p
Thursday, Sept. 5
Manhattan/WH loser vs. WE/DC loser, 4:00p
Derby/WTA loser vs. BC/Liberal loser, 4:00p
Manhattan/WH winner vs. WE/DC winner, 6:00p
Derby/WTA winner vs. BC/Liberal winner, 6:00p
Saturday, Sept. 7
Seventh-place game, 9:00a
Fifth-place game, 11:00a
Third-place game, 1:00p
WNW: 1 0— 1
DRBY: 0 3— 3
WNW: Derby, own goal (23’)
DRBY: Munoz (51’)
DRBY: WNW, own goal (55’)
DRBY: Self (77’)