When the Blue Springs South girls soccer team plays with the Dave Sheridan Cup on the line, it’s usually an emotional night.
The Jaguars’ annual battle with rival Blue Springs honors Sheridan, a former South assistant coach who died of cancer two years ago.
Before the game, which raises funds and awareness for those battling cancer, players on the South squad picked family members that they were playing for and handed a flower to someone in the crowd. Head coach Todd Findley also gave a speech about Sheridan and what he meant to the school and the program.
The emotion of the pregame festivities appeared to take a toll on South early, Findley said, as his team fell behind 1-0 early. But his team battled back thanks to the efforts of Brie Severns and Kiara Schaefer and earned a 3-1 victory Thursday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.
The win was South’s 11th straight over the Wildcats. It also gave Findley his 100th career coaching victory.
“I guess it means I am getting old,” Findley said. “It is meaningful for me because I sincerely love this school and the girls I am coaching. To get to that number, it’s all because of the girls’ hard work. I guess it means I am doing something a little right.”
After the game, the Jaguars celebrated with the trophy and posed for pictured as Morgan Wallace held it on top of her head.
“This was a good one to win for Find (Findley), Sheridan and the people above (in heaven),” Schaefer said. “It was an overall good day.”
It appeared that was going to be a tough task early, and Findley described the first half as his team “getting punched in the mouth.”
Blue Springs sophomore Katy Knudsen blocked a clear attempt by South and senior Olivia Isaacks collected the deflection and punched it inside the right post for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.
“My team was fantastic tonight, but we just ran out of gas,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said. “We don’t have a bench. We have three or four injuries. We were limited to using JV players for a half here and a half there.”
The Jaguars had a few shots go wide of the goal early, but they finally converted in the 34th minute when Severns put a sliding kick inside the right post to tie it after a beautiful centering pass from senior defender Taylor Gardner.
Severns set up the next goal with her corner kick. Khiara Cox collected it and sent a ball in front of the goal. Schaefer knocked in a header in the 58th minute for a 2-1 lead.
About 10 minutes later, Severns hooked a shot around a defender and inside the left post from 30 yards out for the final margin.
“It’s really just a Hail Mary,” Severns said of her two goals. “There is no special thing to it. You just see the space and you take it. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”