Blue Springs South had full control of possession and shots on goal against crosstown rival Blue Springs.
The Jaguars launched shot after shot at the Blue Springs goal but goalkeeper Desiree Barajas made life difficult for them. But with as many shots as the Jaguars got off, eventually one of them was likely to go in. Three of them ended up hitting the back of the net during a 3-0 Suburban Big Seven girls soccer win Tuesday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium in the Sheridan Cancer Battler Cup game, a contest dedicated to former South assistant coach Dave Sheridan, who died of cancer last year.
South had a gigantic advantage in shots (31-2) and shots on goal (20-1) but Barajas was able to withstand a hailstorm of shots, saving 17 of them.
“We were getting shots on goal and they were saving them,” South coach Todd Findley said. “Blue Springs doesn’t have many conference wins but they are a strong school and they are well coached. Their keeper played well. It took us a long time to get going.”
Barajas stopped six shots from South’s leading goal scorer Nina Stine, who sent a couple of rockets that Barajas made diving saves on in the second half. Perhaps her most impressive saves came late in the second half. She was able to range to her left and make a diving stop on a shot from the right wing from Mallory Kroencke and then halted a rebound attempt by Mady Geren right at the goal line.
“It was all right. I had a couple of mistakes as everyone else did,” Barajas said. “I was pretty proud of myself.”
Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan was certainly pleased with the effort from Barajas and the rest of the team.
“She had a big night tonight,” said McLagan, whose team fell to 4-15 overall and 0-11 in the Big Seven. “We made it difficult for them for 40 minutes.”
Although Barajas stonewalled the Jaguars on multiple occasions, they found a way to pull through. Following a corner kick from Stine, Molly Voigt banged a 20-yard shot off the crossbar, but Katelyn Poertner was able to make a heads up play by reading the bounce and putting in the rebound for a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute.
“She read that bounce off the crossbar quicker than anyone else,” McLagan said of Poertner. “It was that 1 percent lack of concentration that allowed her to pick it up and put it into the back of the net.”
In the 59th minute, Stine sent a corner kick near the front of the goal, and Voigt, who rarely gets a chance to score being a wing back, knocked in a header for a 2-0 edge.
“That corner kick from Nina was beautiful. All I had to do was get a head on it,” Voigt said.
Freshman forward Brie Severns then capped the scoring with perhaps the most impressive goal of the day. She ran nearly 60 yards while zigzagging through seven Blue Springs defenders. She eventually worked her way to the goalmouth for the score.
After the game, some of her freshman teammates joked that she didn’t know how to pass the ball.
“I just saw an opening and I was able to take it,” Severns said. “I felt like I had an advantage and was able to get by the defenders.”
Severns was a big reason for South’s 4-1 victory against Lee’s Summit Monday and has been a scoring threat as of late.
“The focus was using our teammates and playing to feet,” Findley said. “When a situation like that comes up with a Brie, a Nina or a Mallory (Kroencke), you know they can take two to three people on and you sit back and let that happen. They have all done that at one point. For a freshman to do that is quite impressive.
“Brie has really come up big recently and the last couple games. Nina and Mallory haven’t got their traditional goals. We’ve had some other girls stepping up. That’s good to see heading into districts. If they shut down Mallory or Nina, we still have some people who can get a goal for us. It will be harder to man-mark us.”
South (14-6, 7-4 Big Seven) has one more regular season game left on the schedule against conference champion Lee’s Summit North Thursday before it starts district play next Tuesday against Blue Springs.
“If we really work together as a team and possess the ball like we should, we should have a chance to win districts,” Severns said.
South was presented with the Sheridan Cup after the game and it was announced that $500 was raised for the Dave Sheridan Scholarship Fund.