All season, the Truman girls soccer team has struggled to score goals.
In Monday’s Class 4 District 14 semifinal against crosstown rival William Chrisman, the Patriots got just enough from their offense and got a big-time performance from the defense.
Katie Black and Charley Burton each scored a goal for Truman and the back line, led by senior Raegan Foushee and freshman Vanessa Reyes Moreno, sparked their team to a 2-1 victory against the Bears at Independence All-School Stadium.
Truman advances to the district championship game and will play state powerhouse St. Teresa’s Academy at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The win avenged a 2-0 loss to Chrisman during the regular season.
“It seems like that’s always how it is,” Black said. “We kind of get revenge in districts every year.”
For most of the game, Chrisman struggled to get shots in the Truman third of the field. That was largely due to the play of the Patriots’ rock-solid back line. Any time Chrisman tried to get penetration just outside or inside the 18-yard box, more times than not it was Reyes Moreno or Foushee there to make the tackle or clear the ball.
“Vanessa is one of the biggest helps back there,” Foushee said of Reyes Moreno. “She’ll be really good in the next three years of high school. (The back line) is doing a lot better at communicating and organizing.”
Truman coach Manny Tovar said he was pleased with the way his back line played as Chrisman managed just seven shots (six on goal).
“With Addy (Adelaide Simpson) and Sam Feaker not having a tremendous amount of speed back there … with Vanessa knowing where she’s supposed to be and Reagan knowing where she should be, they did a great job covering for them. Vanessa gets a lot of headers and goes into everything hard. Foushee tackles hard and she’s a more skilled player. They complement each other.”
The Bears nearly took the lead in the first half on a Celeste Cummins direct free kick from 30 yards out, but Truman goalkeeper Erin Davis made a leaping save to keep the score tied at zero.
Later in the half, Alize Becerra was fouled in the 18-yard box by a Truman defender. That gave Burton a chance at a penalty kick as she slipped a shot past a diving Karina Vela for a 1-0 lead in the 34th minute.
Early in the second half, Black had the most impressive goal of the game. She took a direct free kick from about 45 yards away from the goal, which sailed high in the air and then came down over the head of Vela, off her fingertips and into the back of the net for Truman’s second goal.
“I got lucky,” Black said. “I usually try to take those free kicks and they go to the right or the left.”
Added Tovar: “It was a long one, and everyone knows she has a big foot. (Chrisman) doesn’t have the tallest goalie and she was able to test how high she could go. I think that’s around her max distance.”
Truman was in control until the 78th minute. Chrisman was playing 10-on-11 because of Cummins receiving a red card with about 6 minutes left. The Bears somehow managed a goal late in the game. Truman goalkeeper Cami Maxey, who came in for Davis in the 65th minute, challenged Kayli Perez at the top of the box. Maxey dove and got a piece of it, but Katie Laughlin put in an empty-netter to narrow the gap to one. From there, the Patriots ran the clock out to preserve the win.
“In the first 20 to 25 minutes of the game, we had several opportunities to put a good shot on the grame,” Chrisman coach John Straub said. “For whatever reason, we just couldn’t get someone to break through.”
Chrisman (12-8) was playing shorthanded, being without junior Rylee LaRoche, who suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the season, and Cassie Simpson, who was serving a one-game suspension for a red card.
“From a scoring standpoint, yes (it hurt us),” Chrisman coach John Straub said.