Once the Blue Springs girls soccer team Wildcats showed its claws, it never retracted.
Morgan Hensley lit the scoreboard in the 17th minute, and the Wildcats never let up from there and rolled to a 6-0 non-league victory over visiting Grain Valley Thursday at Peve Stadium.
Hensley finished with a hat trick and an assist in the first half alone as Blue Springs owned a 4-0 halftime lead, and Gabi Severns added two goals in the second half.
Severns said the game was great confidence-builder as the Wildcats take a 6-1 record heading into next week’s games against crosstown rival Blue Springs South and state-ranked Lee’s Summit on back-to-back days.
“We were overconfident when we were 4-0, and then we lost,” she said. “All of us are more confident now.”
“Hopefully don’t take a game like this and get overconfident,” Hensley added.
Blue Springs spent the early minutes unable to break much past the midfield before earning a corner kick that Hensley took. She got a pass back from that and sent a shot from the left wing over the outstretched arms of Grain Valley goalkeeper Darby Scharfenkamp.
Shilah Rainey made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute when she knocked in a rebound off Scharfenkamp’s save of Hensley.
Hensley, who also had three goals in Tuesday’s win over Raytown and against Grain Valley (4-3) last season, struck again in the 32nd minute when she blasted a 20-yarder from the right hash. In the 40th she dribbled up the middle for 20 yards before booting in a 15-yarder.
Blue Springs outshot Grain Valley 16-0 in the first half and 28-6 overall, including 14 shots on goal.
“We needed that,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said of his team’s impressive output. “We improved our speed of play. The first 10 minutes we couldn’t get anything going, then our first two our three touches got faster.
“McLagan talked about keeping possession,” Hensley said, “and at first we did that too much. Once we figured it out, we got going.”
Severns dribbled up the middle and scored just 13 seconds into the second half, and in the 48th she took a pass from Rainey and scooted a shot past Scharfenkamp when the goalie tried to make a play up top.
Blue Springs goalie Lindsey Davis made two saves before giving way to Mahaela Evans for the final 20 minutes. Scharfenkamp had seven saves and defender Abby Winter had a kickaway save in the second half.
Grain Valley played a large portion of the game without ailing Class 2 all-state forward Reighan Childers. Eagles coach Aleana Balistreri, who once played for McLagan at Blue Springs, said facing the Wildcats is always a tough task, but such competition is necessary for her team to improve.
“They’re a good Class 3 school, and we have to play good schools like that in order to do well in the postseason,” Balistreri said. “We have to learn now where we need to get better.
“When you watch Blue Springs, they are extremely quick to the ball and make the right runs. You have to hustle every time, keep your shape and communicate.”