An interesting subplot has emerged as Lee’s Summit North and Liberty – two of the state’s top-ranked girls soccer teams – prepare to meet for the third and final time this season.

An interesting subplot has emerged as Lee’s Summit North and Liberty – two of the state’s top-ranked girls soccer teams – prepare to meet for the third and final time this season.

Broncos sophomore defender McKenzie Kellogg has stepped into the front end for injured forward Brooke Burris and has added another dimension with her 5-foot-10 frame to the high-scoring frontline of sophomore midfielder Allie Stephenson, sophomore forward Ashley Licata, senior forward Aspen Williamson and freshman forward Casey Williamson.

The 10th-ranked Broncos (21-4) and the second-ranked Blue Jays (19-3) will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at Excelsior Springs in state quarterfinal play for the right to advance to St. Louis for the Missouri Class 3 championships. The teams split a pair of Suburban Big Seven conference games this season with Lee’s Summit North capturing the league crown with a 11-1 record, while Liberty finished 10-1 with a game against Lee’s Summit canceled.

“One of our girls (Burris) is hurt, so I had to step up,” Kellogg said after the Broncos defeated Sedalia Smith-Cotton 5-0 in sectional play Tuesday at Excelsior Springs. Kellogg scored the game’s first goal on a header off a corner kick from teammate Jade Gifford. “I had one of my best games of the season. I was able to play forward and get my team going.”

Kellogg’s effect on the Bronco frontline hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach Tim Richardson. Kellogg, who used a header pass to assist on Stephenson’s game-winning overtime goal against St. Teresa’s Academy in the District 14 championship game, has made her mark as a forward this postseason, he said.

“I think McKenzie Kellogg deserves some recognition,” Richardson said. “We counted six corners in a row that she got her head on (against Smith-Cotton). That doesn’t always happen with these young ladies.”

Kellogg, a starting point guard on a Bronco basketball team that spent time this past season ranked in the state, has used her on-court skills to add to the soccer team’s attack.

“She can jump a little bit,” Richardson said, “but her timing is good.”

The Broncos and Blue Jays match up well on paper, but the game is being played on an artificial turf field at Excelsior Springs and that favors a Liberty team that is built on speed.

Several times in the Blue Jays’ 8-2 win over Truman in Tuesday’s sectional, Richardson watched as Shea Groom, Kaysie Clark, Brooke Williams and Jenna Turner each scored two goals each by constantly getting past the Patriot defense.

“We’ve been practicing on grass that hadn’t been mowed for two weeks,” Richardson said.

All things weren’t smooth for Kellogg and the Broncos against Smith-Cotton. As Gifford lined up for a corner kick minutes after Kellogg’s first goal, Kellogg held her place, towering above her shorter teammates, sans Ashley Creason, and dwarfing the Smith-Cotton players.

Timing her jump as she did when she scored, Kellogg mistepped and was hit in the mouth by an Smith-Cotton player. Down she went, only to see Stephenson follow her header with a header goal of her own for a 2-0 Bronco lead.

“We’ve been working in practice on getting our heads on balls and I’ve been doing really good because I’m tall,” Kellogg said. “So, I can get up there and put the ball in. I use it to my advantage and do my thing. On the second one, I got hit in the mouth. I was like ‘I’m going to have a fat lip after the game.’ ”

No pain, no gain, Kellogg said, it’s all for the good of the team.

“This is the second year in a row for me going to the quarterfinals,” Kellogg said of the Broncos, who advanced to the Class 3 state championship game last season before losing to Incarnate Word Academy in a shootout. “And we’re (playing) Liberty, so it’s gonna be a huge game for all of us. It’s going to take a lot of effort to get the win – a full team effort.”