It could’ve been a much bigger margin of victory Thursday for Blue Springs South’s girls soccer team.
But after his team’s 4-0 victory over visiting Truman in the teams’ regular-season finale at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium, South coach Todd Findley also said the Jaguars’ goals, all of which came in the first half, didn’t come easy.
“We really wanted to continue working on our attacking soccer,” Findley said after his team improved to 8-9-1 heading into Class 3 district play next week. “Truman defended well, and (Maya) Coen was a great goalkeeper. They don’t make it easy on you. We’ll try to get better and find ways to attack.”
Coen faced a great deal of target practice Thursday, as South kept the ball in Truman’s half of the field at least three-fourths of the game. The Jaguars got off an astounding 40 shots, including 26 in the first half. Though Coen yielded four goals, she saved 21 other shots on goal, including a point-blank kickaway save in the first half.
“When it gets trafficky and it gets hard to see the ball, I try to see where it’s going to go,” Coen said. “I know my girls have stopped shots, and I need to be ready.”
The first shot South got past Coen came at the 4:59 mark, when Sarah Friermuth tucked a 10-yarder high inside the near left post. Kayla Ellis, who assisted Friermuth’s goal, got her own tally in the 29th minute when she weaved through defenders deep on the right side and punched in a close-range shot.
Brooke Herald made it 3-0 in the 34th when she booted in a rebound after Sarah Smedley’s shot got blocked, and Emily Griffin stopped and popped in an 18-yarder with 47 seconds left before halftime for the final goal.
The Jaguars continued to press in the second half, earning 10 corner kicks, but Coen saved all seven shots on goal.
“Truman really kept their back line low and kept it tight in the middle,” Findley said. “They force you to get the ball wide and finish some crossers. We got some practice with it, and hopefully that works out in districts.
“I think this game was really good for us going into districts,” Ellis added. “We got to practice our crosses, which is good because that’ll be a challenge at districts.”
Megan Swanson didn’t have to make a save to record her shutout, as the Patriots (4-12-2) struggled to clear out of their defensive third and carry through the middle third.
Truman coach Jared Byrne acknowledged his team was a bit leg-weary, particularly having given state-ranked Park Hill a battle Wednesday night in a 4-0 loss. But Thursday’s goals came more from mental breakdowns, he said, not late-game fatigue.
“Not a good game,” Byrne said. “I chalk up a lot of it to being our third game in three days. We played maybe our best game of the year against Park Hill, and that took a lot of energy out of us.
“The goals we gave up in the first were more technical mistakes. Mentally, we weren’t thinking. If we want to have success in districts, we have to play a disciplined game.”
Blue Springs South opens Class 3 District 9 play 7 p.m. Monday at home against Columbia Hickman, while Truman faces Raytown at home 10 a.m. Saturday in the Class 3 District 14 opener.