WINGS TAKE ON THE UNDEFEATED DEMIZE
WINGS TAKE ON THE UNDEFEATED DEMIZE, HALL OF FAME WEEKEND, WICHITA FALLS ON DECK
You might not have heard about them, but don't discount them. The Demize are coming to town and they are gunning for your Wichita Wings. Tickets are still available for today's match.
The Springfield Demize are members of the PASL (Premiere Arena Soccer League) which was previously known as the Federation of Sports Arenas. the teams play in regional competition to keep travel costs to a minimum and they are making the short trek to Wichita with the goal of taking down the second-place MASL2 team.
"The Demize is a quality team. They don’t get the hype because they are in the PASL. Last I looked, they were undefeated will come in with something to prove. This will take another team effort to get the W," said Coach Roger Downing.
The Wings are coming off a win in at Hartman Arena against longtime rivals, the Kansas City Comets from the top tier of the MASL.
"They had some very talented guys on the pitch," said Downing. "We always defend as a team and last Sunday was no different. We got numbers behind the ball and defended as a unit. It was 8-3 before they introduced the 6th attacker. It exposed us a bit, and is something we have been working on to be sure we don’t give up three goals late again."
The game, despite being an exhibition match, was physical and hard-fought. The Comets were coming off a two-game road trip to the East Coast and had a mixed field of second-team players and a handful of their top guys. The inexperienced Comets had something to prove, as the Demize will this coming weekend, and both teams had players leaving the field a bit beat-up.
"As any indoor season goes on injuries are an issue. It’s extremely tough on the body. We have 4-5 injuries and guys are banged up. We have a great group suiting up on Saturday and they are ready to put on another show," said Downing.
It was worth it, however. Downing said playing a more experienced team gave the Wings a view into the type of competition they will see if they move up in the league. Much like the opportunity Wichita awards Springfield tonight's exhibition where the Wings will carry a larger roster for non-league play, allowing for more new faces from the training squad.
Former Wing and Comet, Kim Roentved agreed fans shouldn't discount the value of the game, even though the match is an exhibition game and did not count toward the standings in the MASL2 or the MASL.
"It always counts because there's always bragging rights," Roentved said with a chuckle. "This rivalry goes back to 1981, and as much as we enjoyed the competition and it was 60 minutes of blood, sweat and tears, there has been a lot of fun games between them."
"And you hope and pray that no one breaks a leg," Roentved said. "That's just the competitive part of the game and it's the same between KC and Wichita."
If you miss Roentved and other "old boys" of the Wings, make sure you pick up your tickets for the game against Wichita Falls. The Hall of Fame dinner and premiere of the "God Save the Wings" film will see many veterans in town and ready to cheer on their former team.
"Next weekend should be a lot of fun having all of the veterans in town and inducted into the hall of fame. The boys are excited to play in front of them and I know our fans will be excited to see all the old familiar faces," said Downing.
Tickets are available at Hartman Arena in Park City and via Ticketmaster.
HEADS UP, THE CHAMPIONSHIP IS COMING
The MASL2 is bringing championship action to Hartman Arena April 5 and 6 as the league entrusts the championship rounds to the fledgling Wichita Wings.
Tickets will go on sale next week to the public, with season ticket holders and Orange Army members having first right of refusal. The two-day event will consist of four games with the semi-final matches on April 5 and on April 6 both the consolation and championship games. Currently, the Wings sit comfortably in second place and are on-track to earn their spot in the playoffs.
Owner Blake Shumaker and team management are thrilled to host the league event and think the fans had something to do with the selection.
"I believe what made us stand out from the larger cities was the behind the scenes care we give to each visiting opponent, and of course it is an opportunity to have a packed house for those games. It's no secret that Wichita has some of the best fans in all indoor soccer and everyone expects them to show up and support our bid," said Shumaker.
And remember, they are NOT included in your season ticket package so make plans now to order your champshionship tickets!