By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – The Hot Springs Bison soccer team remained undefeated on the season as they beat Douglas for the second time this year on Saturday, Sept. 9, at home, by a score of 4-2, with all four goals coming off the foot of senior Carson Gehman.
“It was difficult playing Douglas a second time this season,” said Hot Springs head coach Wendell Gehman, while referencing to the team’s 7-4 road victory over the Patriots last month. “They are a scrappy team and always keep fighting to the end. We played well in the first half scoring two, but began to lose our focus and got away from our game plan in the second half.”
Hot Springs got off to a quick start and scored its first goal just 14 seconds into the match, immediately after the kick-off by Douglas. Thanks to high pressure by Hot Springs’ Martin Neilson, the Patriots turned the ball over in their defensive third.
“Neilson crossed the ball into the six-yard box and after a weak clearance attempt, Carson Gehman side-footed the ball into the far-right corner from the top of the penalty area,” Coach Gehman said.
Carson Gehman then scored another unassisted goal in the 8th minute to put Hot Springs up 2-0 following a Bison throw-in Max Meyer to Dustyn Miller, who flicked the header through to Carson. “After a blocked shot by the keeper, Carson calmly slotted the ball low and hard to the keeper’s left into the back of the net.”
In the second half, Carson’s younger brother Cade earned an assist on his next goal as he found the elder Gehman on a corner kick in the 51st minute.
Douglas then got on the board just a short minute later following a turnover in Hot Springs’ defensive third, which pulled the Patriots to within 3-1 in the 52nd minute.
In the 68th minute however, Hot Springs answered after “Brett Atkinson one-timed a through ball splitting the Patriot defenders to a sprinting Dustyn Miller who centered the ball to a waiting Carson Gehman. After sidestepping the defender, he slid the ball inside the side netting to the keeper’s left,” Coach Gehman said.
Despite a quick goal by Douglas shortly after Hot Springs’ fourth goal, the Bison held on easily for the victory, which pushed Hot Springs’ record to 5-0-1 on the season. Hot Springs made 29 shots in the match, compared to just seven for Douglas.
“Their goals were a direct result of defensive errors and several mental lapses in concentration,” added Coach Gehman. “It wasn’t pretty, but at this stage of the season, a win’s a win. We will need to sharpen our game if we hope to give Central a run for their money.”
Despite being the only undefeated team in the state’s Class “A” ranks, Tea Area (5-1-1) holds the slight edge in first place power point rankings with 43.500, compared to 43.083 for the Bison in second place.
Hot Springs has two matches this week, both versus Class “AA” competition, first hosting Rapid City Central (6-1-1) on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Mueller Field at 5 p.m., and then traveling to Sturgis (2-7) on Friday, Sept. 15.