Blue Springs South girls soccer coach Todd Findley said that the Jaguars faced two opponents Thursday – visiting Park Hill and a stout, spring wind.
At least it seemed that way during the first half of South’s 2-0 Suburban Big Seven home loss on Senior Night.
“Park Hill really put us under a lot of pressure,” Findley said. “They’re a fantastic team with some really good goal scorers. So we really had to defend a lot that first half against that head wind.”
South senior defender Taylor Gardner – who was among 12 seniors honored afterward, including managers and foreign exchange students – was pleased with how the Jaguars (11-7 overall, 5-4 Big Seven) managed playing against the Trojans and the wind in the first half.
“We held them to one goal, which was big because they have a lot of girls who can hit it from far out,” said Gardner, who has signed to attend Kansas State University on a soccer scholarship.
The Trojans (13-3, 9-2) got that “one goal” in the 11th minute, when sophomore Dragana Andonovski scored on a long shot to the far post. Andonovski, the daughter of former Kansas City Comets coach Vlatko Andonovski, got “a little extra boost” from the tail wind, Park Hill coach Brandt Bell said. However, Andonovski tends to finish opportunities such as the one she got on Thursday, regardless of the elements, Bell added.
“She finds that chance a lot from game to game, where she can kind of push it to her right foot and then strike it back across the face of the goal from distance,” he said.
Along with the tail wind, Bell said that Andonovski benefited from what he called “a lot of congestion in front of” her when she shot. The cluster of nearby players might have made it difficult for South goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer to get a read on the shot, he said.
“Werremeyer’s a fantastic player,” Bell said. “So to get two by her is no small feat.”
The Trojans got the second one by Werremeyer in the 77th minute, when senior attacker Alison Walls buried a low shot.
“We know how dangerous Walls is,” Findley said. “And so, actually, to defend against the wind and only be down a goal at half – and kind of limit Alison to only a couple looks – I was quite proud of that.”
And Findley was “pretty proud” of South’s effort, he said. No doubt, he was proud of the seniors who were honored Thursday, too.
“(That’s) a heck of a group,” Findley said.