Tuesday’s double-overtime win at Liberty came at a price for the Blue Springs girls soccer team.
With his team facing a short turnaround Wednesday, Wildcats coach Doug McLagan had hoped visiting Raymore-Peculiar wouldn’t make Blue Springs pay. But after a 1-0 halftime lead, the Cats couldn’t stay with the Panthers in the second half and fell 3-2 in a Suburban Big Six game at Peve Stadium.
“They just outworked us,” said McLagan, whose team fell to 8-3 overall and 3-3 in the Big Six. “Whether it’s in our legs or our minds, we didn’t cut it tonight. We still created chances, but we didn’t work enough.”
Following the 5-4 double-OT win on a slower grass field, McLagan admitted he was worried the Wildcats would come out flat against Ray-Pec (6-4, 2-3).
“We were aware of it, but we can’t complain about it,” he said. “If we had worked, I thought we would’ve won the game.”
With the stiff southeast breeze at their backs in the first half, Blue Springs outshot Ray-Pec 6-3, including three shots on goal. Late in the 24th minute, a ball into the box deflected neatly to a streaking Morgan Hensley, who clubbed a 15-yarder off the hands of goalkeeper Emily Thuss and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
Gabi Severns nearly made it 2-0 early in the second half, but her shot off a breakaway rolled just wide of the far post. Instead, the Panthers tied it in the 50th when Becky Millard took a through pass on a counter-attack and zipped a shot past diving goalkeeper Lindsey Davis.
Davis’ tip-away save against Paxton Weatherly briefly kept the game tied in the 53rd, but Bailey Edwards scored off Raegan Edwards’ ensuing corner kick to give Ray-Pec the lead for good. Millard then made it 3-1 in the 65th after keeping a deflected ball right at the goal mouth.
“Our legs were heavy,” Blue Springs defender Amanda Bohanon said. “We tried to push through it mentally.
“We were feeling good (at halftime), but we didn’t think it was enough. We tried to think more defensively, but they still attacked us and got behind us.”
Blue Springs quickly responded later in the 65th, as Hensley left-footed a ball in front of the goal, where Thuss couldn’t corral it and Severns tapped in the loose ball. Soon after, Hensley got a free kick when Thuss picked up the ball just outside of the penalty box. But Hensley’s initial boot got knocked down and Shilah Rainey’s follow-up sailed high.
In the 78th, Marissa Moore had a look from the left slot after a free kick from the opposite side, but her shot was wide.
McLagan said he didn’t see much difference in Ray-Pec’s offensive approach in the second half, but the Panthers created plenty of space and got off a bunch more shots (13-6 advantage after halftime, including seven shots on goal). Davis finished with six saves and Thuss three.
“No. 7 (Baylie Edwards), she won every ball, and we didn’t have anybody step up and say, ‘I’m going to stop her,’” McLagan said. “The first half, we were up one – we played OK but not great. Second half, going against the wind, maybe we didn’t have anything left.”
Whereas last week Blue Springs bounced back from a loss to Blue Springs South and beat Lee’s Summit the next day, this week marked a reversal in fortune.
“These back-to-back games are killers,” McLagan said.
Against Liberty, Hensley had two goals and Moore, Severns and Rainey added one each. Moore and Rainey assisted on Hensley’s goals, and Hensley assisted on Moore’s and Severns’ scores. Rainey’s goal was unassisted.
Raymore-Peculiar’s junior varsity won 4-0.