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Today could perhaps be accurately called “Spring Selection Saturday,” with regional brackets being announced across 6A spring sports today. Here’s an update on breaking developments pertaining to the Dodge City High School Red Demons.
Baseball to take on Wichita West
Dodge City High School Athletics announced via Twitter Saturday morning that the Red Demons will head to Derby Middle School Wednesday, where they’ll take on the Wichita West Pioneers. That game is scheduled for 2 p.m., with the winner to face either Derby or Topeka at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
At 9-11, Dodge City enters the game as the lower seed at No. 10, with Wichita West entering the game at 12-8 and the No. 7 seed.
Despite the seeding difference however, the two teams are statistically similar against shared opponents this season. Each team played Wichita East, Wichita South, Garden City, Wichita Heights and Wichita Southeast.
Against those opponents, Dodge City went 5-4, while Wichita West went 6-4, having played one extra game against Southeast. Dodge City outscored common opponents by nine runs over their nine games, and average of one per game.
In that regard, West might have an edge. They averaged outscoring opponents by 3.1 runs per game, more than triple what Dodge City did. Overall, they outscored opponents they shared with the Red Demons by 31 total runs.
Girls soccer to take on Lawrence Free State
DCHS Athletics also announced the Red Demons girls soccer team will go to Lawrence Free State High School to take on the Lawrence Free State Firebirds Monday night. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Looking at the two teams’ regular seasons, the best way I think to describe them is simple: Opposites.
Through the first eight games this season, Dodge City was 2-6 while Free State was 6-2. In the back half of the schedules (Free State having played an extra game), Dodge City went 4-1-2, while Free State finished 1-6-1.
Both teams also lost their last games of the regular season: Dodge City falling to Liberal 2-1, Free State falling to Hayden 2-1.
Yet both seasons have had a couple of similarities also.
The two teams only faced one similar opponent, and both lost. That opponent was Shawnee Mission South, which beat Dodge City 6-0 to open its season before beating Free State 2-0 a few weeks later.
Dodge City travels because of being the lower seed in the matchup, No. 9 versus Free State’s No. 8 seed. Dodge City started slow but heated up as the season went on, while Free State started hot but cooled dramatically in the back half of their season.
That difference meant that both teams essentially earned their status as home team or away team in this round with their results early in the season, for better or worse.
The Red Demons struggled early and, despite better results late in the season, narrowly failed to overcome their slow start. The Firebirds, by contrast, started strong and narrowly failed to let their cold finish overcome their earlier efforts.
If you want to compare their last seven games to the Red Demons last seven games, the Firebirds went 1-6-0. That draw in the back half of their season was their ninth game of the year.
All that means this game between the two could be close, because while each team lost their last game of the year, Dodge City won the three prior to that, while Free State lost five before it.
In terms of goals this year, Dodge City scored 11 but allowed 23. Free State scored 22 while allowing 22.
The Red Demon defense has been incredible this year, directed from the net by K-State commit senior Angie Ojeda at goalkeeper.
The number of goals they have allowed might not support that assessment, but offensive struggles can cause defenses and netminders to have to face more challenges and thus likely allow more goals.
That’s what I think has happened to the Red Demons this season. Their offense has at times been good, but statistically it hasn’t led to goals. The Red Demons have scored the third fewest goals in Kansas 6A girls soccer. That’s including teams from both 16-team regionals, not just their own. Only three teams have scored fewer: Shawnee Mission North and Wichita West, which have each scored nine, and Wichita Southeast which scored three.
The combined record for those three teams: 5-39-2. Wichita West is the only 15 seed in the three, the other two are 16 seeds.
In other words, Dodge City’s defense and goalkeeping have helped keep the team in enough games that the offense could win by scoring fewer goals than any other team of even remotely similar seeding.
It’ll be important they keep that up when they face Free State.
The Firebirds are led by the prolific scoring tandem of junior Emma Yackley and senior Sydni Beeley. The two have combined for 15 goals this season, Yackley having 10 and Beeley five, while each has also has tallied multiple assists this season, according to reporting in the Lawrence Journal World.
The Red Demon defense will need desperately to shut those two down early and throughout. Neither has scored in the last four games, and in the last six they’ve combined for one total goal, but if they get going, it’ll take a remarkable effort by the Red Demon defense and goalkeeper to give the Demons a chance of advancing.
A strong showing by the offense will be important. The Red Demon goals this season have largely come from three players: Sophomore Alicia Monge, freshman Alicia Solis and senior Ariana Temblador. Monge leads the team in goals, Solis has come through at key moments and Temblador has shown herself to be one of the team’s strongest players when it comes to creating opportunities for other scorers, having tallied multiple assists this season.
The winner of the game between the Firebirds and Red Demons will advance to face the winner of Washburn Rural’s game against Wichita Southeast. The two victors will meet at 6 p.m. May 17 at a location to be determined by Monday night’s games.