Lee’s Summit North had plenty of scoring chances in the first half Monday, but wasn’t able to solve the Blue Springs South defense.
That changed in the second half when North executed its offense much better and got one goal each from Kyle Rock and Christian Mesias to earn a 2-0 Suburban Big Seven home win.
“It was a tough match, South played really well,” North coach Ryan Kelley said after his team improved to 4-0. “In the first half, we were kind of feeling each other out. (South) did a really good job getting behind us defensively. (North goalkeeper) John Foster did a really nice job getting some saves to keep us in it.”
“In the second half, we did a nice job executing our attack and putting some pressure on them and limiting their opportunities. I felt confident we would find a way to score.”
It was tough in the beginning even though North had a 10-3 lead on shots in the first 40 minutes. The Broncos’ first three shot attempts went just a couple of feet wide or high of the goal. North midfielder Mitch Petersen had a breakaway opportunity late in the half, but South goalkeeper Keavin Hart won a challenges and slid to collect the ball before Petersen could get a shot off.
North dominated possession in the second half, and didn’t allow many scoring opportunities for the Jaguars (1-2, 0-2), who got just one shot off. South’s best opportunity to score in the final 40 minutes came when Bryce Millican had a one-on-one opportunity with a North defender. He used his speed to get ahead and appeared to have a clear path to the goal. That was until Foster challenged him and knocked the ball away to keep the visitors scoreless.
“(Millican) gave us a lot of trouble up top,” Kelley said. “He was pulling out center backs and stretching them. He had a great opportunity in the second half, but John made a nice save.”
South coach Jon Grice said his team’s lack of success at winning 50-50 balls in the second half caused his team to struggle on offense.
“We played really well in the first half, but we weren’t winning the ball in the second half,” he said. “We came out flat in the second half. It doesn’t matter what formation you are in, if you’re not winning the ball, if you’re not tracking back or doing your job, it doesn’t matter what you do.
“(North) capitalized on that and they scored. Then we went a little crazy and lost our minds a little bit. Then we finally settled down. My kids just need to buy into what we’re doing. When we do that, we’ll be OK.”
Moments after Hart made a diving one-handed stop of a laser from Parker Allen, Mesias finally got the Broncos on the scoreboard. A shot from a teammate deflected of South’s Zion Trober and came back to Mesias, who roped a shot inside the left post for a 1-0 lead.
“Christian getting that first goal is huge,” Kelley said. “He did a good job of staying composed and got a nice, quality touch. He hit it really well in the corner there and there wasn’t much their keeper could do.”
Rock sealed it for the Broncos midway through the second half when he received a nice centering pass from Ben Godsey in on the left wing and tucked one in past Hart for the final score.
“(The goal) had a lot to do with Ben,” Rock said. “He was playing with me perfectly. I saw him and he saw me. We showed that chemistry that you can’t teach. We had a nice combination there.
“We were a little sharper and we came out prepared in the second half. We didn’t really panic like we did in the first half. It was our first home game, so we were a little nervous. The second half gave us a good chance to settle down.”
North has plenty of momentum heading into another big conference game against crosstown rival Lee’s Summit on Wednesday, as it just came off a Liberty Kickoff Classic championship.