It’s been an up and down season for the Lee’s Summit North girls soccer team, but as it has done several times in recent years, it’s playing its best soccer in the postseason.
The Broncos won their fifth straight district title after a 2-1 win against Blue Springs South last Thursday.
They advanced to the Class 4 sectional round to take on host St. Teresa’s Academy at 4:30 p.m. today – a team North has met in sectionals three times in a row – winning one out of the three meetings against the perennial state power.
But North is getting hot at the right time as it’s currently riding a three-game winning streak for the first time this season. A shaky offense has come alive lately as the Broncos have scored nine goals in the last three games.
They have been led by junior forward Kaylie Rock, who has scored six goals in the last three games. Late in the season, other players have been giving Rock plenty of help on offense as the Broncos are developing a more versatile attack.
“We went through a funk during the season, not playing like we normally do. But our game against (St. Teresa’s) is what brought us back,” North junior midfielder Halle Hill said of a 1-0 regular season loss to the Stars. “We struggled to get up as a team earlier in the year. It was kind of Kaylie against all at the beginning of the year, and now we’re doing a lot better getting up as a team. That is helping us get more chances at the goal. A lot of other people are getting chances to score.”
The Broncos (10-12) will need to play that way against a St. Teresa’s team that arguably has the best player in the state in junior Lilly Farkas, who verbally committed to Michigan last year. She scored her team’s only goal in the win against North during the regular season. She has the ability to take over the game by herself, and Kelley said it will be important to shut her down.
“We have to be in front of her at all times,” Kelley said of Farkas. “She’s got really great technical ability on the ball and she’s got great speed. She’s actually probably the fastest player we’ve seen all year. We have to figure out how to at least contain her.”
Added senior midfielder Cara Panarisi: “I don’t know much about their team except Lilly Farkas because that’s all you hear about. I feel like our focus will be on her and targeting her and making sure she doesn’t get many shots off.
“She’s really hard to defend and she can shoot from anywhere.”
Hill knows that firsthand as she had to mark Farkas during the regular season.
“Her movement off the ball is really good,” Hill said. “I had to mark her last game and it was very tiring to keep up with her. She’s also good communicating with her team. She’s all-around good.”
Although trying to stop Farkas may be a daunting task, the Broncos have some encouragement thanks to their last matchup with St. Teresa’s.
“That was one of our better games,” Panarisi said. “We stayed with them for a while until the second half when Lilly scored.”
The key for the Broncos, according to Kelley, is endurance and defense.
“We have a really good shot if we can play like we did against them last time for 80 minutes,” Kelley said. “If we can really lock in defensively, we can make it really tough for them.
“We’ve done a really good job in the back. The girls back there have really settled into their role and organizing. We’ll need to keep doing that (today).”