While all-state goalkeeper Megan Swanson manned the net for the Blue Springs South girls soccer team last season, a varsity ready starter was on the bench.
That person was Alaina Werremeyer, who played sparingly in 2017.
Now that Swanson is now playing for Arkansas-Little Rock, it’s Werremeyer’s time to take a stab at the goalkeeper position.
The sophomore didn’t disappoint as she notched 11 saves and spearheaded a 1-0 shutout of Kearney Monday at home.
“Last year, she was the best JV goalkeeper that I have seen play ever before (last year),” Jaguars coach Todd Findley said. “I knew she would step right in and pick up the position. She stood on her head tonight.”
Werremeyer, who has verbally committed to University of Kansas, made some impressive saves against a Bulldogs team that controlled possession throughout. Kearney was on South’s side of the field for most of the game, but Werremeyer’s poise did not waver.
She made a diving save off a Kearney shot early in the game, and a few minutes later snared a header that took a wicked hop as she dove up and to her left.
In the final 20 minutes of the first half, the sophomore stopped a 25-footer that nearly snuck under the crossbar as she leapt and knocked the ball over the goal with her fist. Another Werremeyer save required her to use every inch of her 5-foot-10 frame as she dove to her left to knock away a laser shot by Kearney from inside the penalty box.
“It’s her size and her instincts,” Findley said of why she’s a talented goalkeeper. “She’s quick on her feet for being pretty good size and she’s got length to her arms. She can get to a lot of balls others don’t get to. She can get to the top bar and can get to the post. She pretty much has it all.”
Werremeyer deferred credit of her spectacular game to her teammates on defense.
“They made my job really easy,” Werremeyer said of her back line. “I am really proud of them and happy to have them in front of me.
“We knew this was going to be a hard game, and we just gutted it out against a good Kearney team.”
The backline did its part for South as the players in the back caused numerous deflections and caused some shots from an aggressive Kearney offense to go wide of the goal. The Jaguars were already missing all-state defender Taylor Gardner because of injury. Then disaster struck at the end of the first half. Defender Molly Voigt went down with a left leg injury after a collision with a Kearney player, leaving South without another senior defender.
But somehow the Jaguars found a way to shut out Kearney without their two best defensive players.
“At one point we only had one girl on the field that had considerable varsity minutes last year,” Findley said. “I slide a girl named Jade (Johann) in the back, and she sees the game very well, and she picked it up nicely and preserved our shutout.”
The Jaguars got the only goal of the game in the 24th minute when Brie Severns got a ball that was played into the box by a teammate. She juked a defender then rifled in a shot with her left foot.
“It came from Logan (Abernathy) and I saw the ball coming down,” Severns said. “I was there and I was ready. I saw players being guarded, so I just went for it.”
“We came out hard and we knew we weren’t going to let them beat us during our first home game.”