The Blue Springs South girls soccer team had minimal chances to score against Blue Valley West, but it got some good looks late.
Forward Mallory Kroencke had a trio of solid chances and Nina Stine had a clear shot in the final 20 minutes of the game, but none were able to hit the back of the net as West took a 1-0 victory in the Blue Springs South Invitational tournament Wednesday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.
West, last year’s Kansas Class 6A state runner-up, controlled the game throughout and consistently had the Jaguar defense on its heels with multiple counter attacks. It wasn’t until late that South got some strong opportunities.
“They had great possession tonight and we didn’t,” South coach Todd Findley said. “Sometimes in soccer you have those days that you come out a little bit flat and you have to work that much harder to get possession. A lot of that was (West) and having good energy on their part.
“I don’t know that we had our best game.”
Down 1-0, the speedy Kroencke got ahead of the defense on the right side on a pair of occasions before attempting to sneak a shot inside the far post. Both were just wide left. Kroencke also attempted a header in front of a goal off a direct free kick from Stine, but that one also went wide.
Stine launched a rocket shot toward the goal with about 5 minutes left but West goalkeeper Brooke Thomas made a diving stop to keep the ball from going inside the left post, drawing an audible sigh from Findley.
“We were holding our breath on the sidelines,” Findley said. “But they just didn’t come our way. We just ran into a good team today. If we’re not on our A-game against a team like that, it’s going to be tough.”
South managed five shots (one on goal) after just having two in the first. West however kept goalkeeper Megan Swanson under fire most of the night with 20 shots (11 on goal). The possession, defensive and counter attack battles were all won by West.
Even with West pretty much setting up a camp on the South side of the field, the home team made life difficult. There were a handful of instances when West got the ball right at the goalmouth and the ball was either stopped by Swanson or deflected by a South defender.
Swanson was superb as she made 10 saves overall. Two of her saves included a diving stop of a shot curving toward the inside of the left post and a leaping knock away on a high bouncing shot from 60 yards out that could have easily made it over her head.
The one she couldn’t stop was a penalty shot from Shelby Lierz, who snuck one inside the left post early in the second half for the game’s only score.
“Megan had some great saves as usual and got one off her fingertips early in the first half,” Findley said. “Megan almost saved that one (the penalty kick) as well. With Taylor (Gardner) and Molly (Voigt) in the back … I was proud of our defensive effort.”