Lee’s Summit’s soccer coach Dave Wiebenga said his teams have a good record in post-regulation decisions – most notably when the Tiger boys captured a state championship last fall via shootout.
But while Tuesday’s Suburban Big Six girls soccer showdown between Lee’s Summit and host Blue Springs appeared destined for overtime, Wiebenga didn’t want to press his luck.
The Tigers’ Izzy Shackelford made sure nobody saw overtime, booting the game’s only goal with 1:40 remaining to give Lee’s Summit a 1-0 win at Peve Stadium and hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
Shackelford found herself in some space 30 yards straightaway, turned and lofted a shot over leaping Blue Springs goalkeeper Lindsey Davis and into the net. While the Tigers improved to 4-0-2 overall and 2-0 in the Big Six, the Wildcats fell to 5-1 overall in their conference opener.
“I was hoping so,” Wiebenga said of breaking through late to avoid overtime. “That’s why we’ve got to press, press, press. We’re getting there, but it’s so early. We’ve just got to execute it better.”
While possession wasn’t lopsided in either direction Tuesday, Lee’s Summit created more quality scoring chances, putting 10 of its 16 shots on goal and owning a 9-3 advantage in corner kicks. Blue Springs only made Lee’s Summit keeper Dorothy Bertoncin make three saves among its six shots.
“They seemed to have a lot of space in the midfield,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said. “We hit bombs and we hit the crossbar. They hit the bomb that mattered. Honestly though, they probably deserved to win.
“Their athletic ability that we faced all over the field was a problem. We couldn’t get in the game enough, we couldn’t possess enough and we couldn’t find players we needed to enough.”
The crossbar shot came on Morgan Hensley’s free kick from 28 yards out in the 56th minute, and it bounced harmlessly away. Blue Springs’ best chance after that came in the 77th when Shilah Rainey also tried a high shot from the left wing, but it drifted over the crossbar.
Davis made nine saves before Shackelford’s goal and snatched several more dangerous balls at the goal mouth, the first one coming on a corner-kick scramble in the 11th minute. Lee’s Summit appeared to get its first goal in the 43rd off another such scramble, but the head official ruled offsides.
Wiebenga said he was “ecstatic” with how his defense held Blue Springs in check.
“The defense has played great this season,” he said. “My back four and two holding mids were beasts tonight.”
Lee’s Summit’s junior varsity won 4-0.
The game also served as Blue Springs’ first-ever H8Cancer Foundation Benefit, which included T-shirt sales, a bake sale and a raffle. The foundation, which began less than a year ago, has raised more than $75,000 to help fund collaborative research on the molecular structure and genetic makeup of tumors, said Kiers Rowley, the mother of a Blue Springs player and a seven-year cancer survivor.
“I believe we can find (a cure) in my lifetime if we just collaborate,” she said.