• Wildcats end eight-year title drought

  • Two entire classes have passed through the Blue Springs girls soccer program since the Wildcats experienced the joy they felt Friday night.

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  • Two entire classes have passed through the Blue Springs girls soccer program since the Wildcats experienced the joy they felt Friday night.
    For eight consecutive seasons, the Wildcats have failed to advance out of their district bracket, often falling victim to a Lee’s Summit North dynasty that had claimed four consecutive district crowns before Friday.
    But Friday, finally, Blue Springs slipped past the Broncos, netting a goal in the 68th minute on Rebekah Lowrey’s header and withstanding a North charge in the last 18 minutes for a 1-0 win in the Class 3 District 14 championship at Lee’s Summit North High School.
    “It’s so exciting,” freshman forward Morgan Hensley said. “Winning a district championship is always great, but after (nearly) 10 years of not winning one, it’s especially good.”
    With nine seconds remaining, a fan in the Blue Springs section shouted, “Do you believe in miracles?” Moments later, the Wildcats swarmed senior goalkeeper Alyssa Scholl. They screamed, hugged and even shed a few tears before gleefully accepting their first-place trophy.
    Maybe clipping the Broncos wasn’t quite a miracle, but North has been a roadblock for the Wildcats (9-6) for years. Even this season, as the Broncos have at times struggled transitioning under first-year coach Ryan Kelley after Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year Allie Stephenson graduated last spring, North still managed to trip Blue Springs twice in the regular season. The Broncos (12-13) won both matches 1-0 – the second one coming in penalty kicks – and looked poised to extend their district dominance.
    “I think at the start of the season it was mental,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said. “Because they’ve just dominated us for the last nine years. The first game we played them it looked like we were just in fear or in awe of them.”
    McLagan said in the second contest, despite the loss, he saw his team build some confidence that carried into Friday’s game. Still, the margin for error was slim, as McLagan assumed one goal would end up being the difference.
    The Cats manufactured that needed score on an attack generated by sophomore forward Shilah Rainey. Rainey scooted down the flank and cut toward the Bronco goal before firing a perfect cross that Lowrey headed in past North goalkeeper Maddie Dobyns.
    “I saw (Rainey) going out and I know she likes to cross it in,” Lowrey said. “So I waited for her and I watched her wind up and then I sprinted in. It was kind of slow motion for me actually. I saw it and just put a head on it.”
    As McLagan described it, “a beauty.”
    The Cats work wasn’t done, though, as North produced a plethora of scoring looks in the closing minutes. Over the final 18 minutes, Scholl gripped five saves and Blue Springs survived three North corner kicks.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It was the longest 18 minutes,” McLagan said.
    The Wildcats advance to Tuesday’s sectional where they’ll face seventh-ranked Lee’s Summit West (20-2-1) at West.
    “It’s just great,” Lowrey said. “District champs – I’ve never been this far in four years I’ve been playing. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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