PECULIAR, Mo. — Less is more.
That’s the plan for one metro high school soccer club, which is using defense and goal-stopping to win games instead of huge scoring outbursts.
The mission is to dominate soccer games, and thus far, Ray-Pec’s boys soccer team (4-0) is making it look simple. Through a perfect four-game start, the Panthers are beating their first quartet of opponents by a 9-1 margin.
“The boys have bought in,” John Plankers, Ray-Pec’s fifth year coach, said.
Plankers’ club isn’t accustomed to getting much recognition on the soccer pitch, but their fast start has them ranked in Missouri’s Class Four top ten. The Panthers have seen limited success in recent postseasons, likely due to the strength of the competition in their district, making this winning stretch its own reward.
“They’re playing for something bigger — meaning, they’re not worried about individual accolades. We’ve really come together and embraced that team mentality,” Plankers said on Friday.
One of Ray-Pec’s best weapons sits in goal. Senior goalie Jack Green has surrendered only one goal thus far — which isn’t bad for having played 320 minutes this season, leading a club that’s showing a new shine.
“Like some of my coaches say — all you have to do is keep the ball out of the goal. That’s my job. I’ve been doing it pretty well, I think,” Green smiled.
“I love getting that recognition. We don’t get that recognition often. Getting those four dubs and with only one goal and all the schools coming up makes us happy,” Zak Hiles, Ray-Pec senior centerback, said.
The Panthers newfound ranking is no fluke, either. All four clubs they’ve beaten thus far have been ranked in one metro soccer poll or another, and with only six seniors on this squad, Ray-Pec’s rise may not be limited to one team only.
Ray-Pec’s men travel to Park Hill South on Tuesday.
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