Five games. Five shutouts. Five wins.
That’s been the formula the Blue Springs South its last five contests. The latest one, Jaguars coach Todd Findley admitted, was the most impressive when his team blanked No. 8 state-ranked Lee’s Summit North 1-0 in a Suburban Big Six contest Thursday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.
Findley was ecstatic about the victory as he pumped his fist and said, “Unbelieveable! “Yeah!” and “Nice!”
“This is definitely our biggest win to date so far,” Findley said. “That makes it five wins in a row for us. We’re on a roll and I hope it keeps up.”
A lot of the credit had to go to the team’s four starting defenders – Peri Rainey, Hannah Maupin, Katie Hoff and Taylor Gardner – for disrupting many of North’s runs to the goal. Even midfielder Mollie Maupin contributed with a pair of blocks in South’s third of the field in the second half, helping thwart an aggressive Bronco attack.
In the first half, Gardner cleared a two-on-one break from North as Keelie Fothergill and Kaylie Rock were pushing the ball down the field. Maupin also stopped what could have been a couple of open kicks inside the penalty box in the second half.
‘Honestly this was one of our best games from forwards to defense – it was just a group effort of defense,” Rainey said. “My girls did so good. I am really happy with how we played.
“We knew they were going to come in strong (in the second half) because they are a really good team. So we had to balance with that. This (win) is awesome for us.”
When the Broncos (8-4, 3-2 Big Six) got past the back line, goalkeeper Megan Swanson was there to make the save. She had a total of six including a couple of game-saving ones in the second half. Alexis Mitchell drilled a 25-yarder that appeared it might be heading for the back of the net, but Swanson ranged to her right to make a diving stab to keep North scoreless. She also stopped a Mitchell shot that was headed inside the upper left corner of the goal, but she leaped to her right and punched the ball away for another incredible stop.
“It starts with Megan Swanson in goal,” Findley said. “She’s just fantastic and came up with a couple of really huge saves. (The back line’s) energy and work rate is just really fun to watch. A lot of credit goes to them and how the put pressure on the ball.
“Megan is an all-state keeper and that’s why because she makes those type of saves.”
South (8-2, 4-2) had some solid scoring chances as well that were stopped by Broncos goalkeeper Madison Baker. She made a diving stop of a point-blank shot from Nina Stine in the second half and Brashear also got a shot stopped by a Baker dive.
South’s only score came in the fifth minute. The red-hot Stine scored her 17th goal in 10 games. She received a pass from Mollie Maupin on the far right side of the field and lobbed a 20-plus-yard shot toward the left side of the goal. Baker misjudged the flight of the ball as it went over her head and inside the left post.
“I hope there isn’t a game that goes by where she doesn’t score because we rely a lot on it,” Findley said of Stine, who has scored in all of South’s games.
Stine wasn’t convinced her kick would get past Baker.
“I had an idea but I wasn’t sure because she’s a really good goalkeeper,” Stine said. “Normally we can’t get shots from outside of the 18 (yard line) but I was really happy it when in.”
North coach Ryan Kelley gave credit to South for playing a great game but felt his team was not prepared for the game mentally.
“Blue Springs South defended us really well,” Kelley said. “Megan (Swanson) made some incredible saves. She’s a great goalie.
“I don’t think we handled the game very well. I think we were really sloppy and lacked a lot of extra determination. We kind of had a lot of panic in our game. We got around the goal at times and missed some opportunities. For some reason, we really weren’t into this game. But give credit to South. They had numbers behind the ball and played great defense.”