• Wildcats relish PK chances in win over South

  • It wasn’t that long ago the Blue Springs girls soccer team decided who would take penalty kicks by playing rock, paper, scissors.

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  • It wasn’t that long ago the Blue Springs girls soccer team decided who would take penalty kicks by playing rock, paper, scissors.
    That was the system used four years ago, senior defender Brittany AuBuchon said. On Tuesday night against rival Blue Springs South, a different method was utilized.
    With the squads gridlocked in a scoreless tie after two overtime periods, Wildcats coach Doug McLagan asked his players who wanted to take the pressure-packed shots. No fewer than five hands shot into the air.
    AuBuchon, Morgan Hensely, Beka Lowrey and Gabi Severns converted their tries and Blue Springs goalkeeper Alyssa Scholl stopped two Jaguar attempts to give the Cats a 1-0 Suburban Big Six Conference win at Blue Springs South High School.
    “When we come to pick our kickers, we don’t know who it’s going to be,” McLagan said after his team improved to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play. “I ask them who wants it, because a lot of them start to back up. But we had five people that wanted to do it. It probably was not necessarily the five I would pick, but those five are ready mentally to step up.”
    McLagan noticed five volunteers, but AuBuchon said there were several more willing to go one on one with South keeper Kylie Young.
    “We had more than five wanting to take a PK,” she said. “That’s a great boost for me, being a senior, knowing they’ll all take one.”
    AuBuchon blasted in the first PK, something she’s gotten used to doing over the past few years. When McLagan asks for kickers, she said she always wants to be first in line.
    “I’m confident in myself not only to take a PK, but to take the first one,” she said. “I’ve taken the first one since my sophomore year and each time I get m ore and more confidence in myself.”
    Scholl, a senior, was also bursting with confidence as the clock expired in the second overtime. Throughout the extra periods she shouted at her teammates to keep the ball away from her because she said she’s much more comfortable making stops in PKs than in live action.
    “It’s a big mental game,” Scholl said. “And it’s a mind game, which I like to play.”
    The Jaguars (4-3, 0-2 Big Six) put plenty of pressure on Scholl throughout the contest. Just in the overtime periods, South sophomore Emily Griffin helped generate three scoring chances. With 3:22 left in the first OT, Griffin pushed a shot just wide past a diving Scholl. A minute into the second extra period, another shot was blocked by Scholl. And five minutes later, Griffin took a pass from Beth Landon on a run at the net but came up short when Scholl made a sliding stop.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I honestly wasn’t too worried about them shooting against her,” AuBuchon said. “I’ve played with her for so many years and I have that much confidence in her as a keeper to make those saves. I knew she would.”
    The defeat exposed an ongoing issue for South. Despite winning four of their first six matches before Tuesday and notching impressive wins over Columbia Rock Bridge and Columbia Hickman, the Jaguars have totaled just eight goals this season outside of a 10-0 win over Raytown South.
    “I’m extremely disappointed,” South coach Todd Findley said. “We’ve been playing really well to start the season and felt like we had some good chances that we just didn’t take care of tonight. That’s our own fault. You let a team like Blue Springs with a great coach like Doug hang around and battle and fight, and they’re going to knock their PKs because they’re a poised, confident team.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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