Blue Springs South sophomores Alaina Werremeyer and Brie Severns attributed South’s 1-0 shootout win Tuesday over visiting Lee’s Summit in part to the power of prayer.
South’s ability to press through the wind and cold, get some clutch saves from Werremeyer and make some clutch kicks probably helped, too, as the team won the shootout 3-0 in the Suburban Big Seven showdown.
With the score 0-0 after regulation and two 10-minute overtimes, the Suburban Big Seven meeting came down to a shootout, with South and Lee’s Summit alternating attempts. The Jaguars made three out of four attempts. Taylor Gardner made South’s first attempt, Ashton Warren made the second one, Kaylee Connors’ attempt was blocked and Severns punched in the clincher.
“I was just trying to calm myself down,” Severns said of approaching the ball to kick. “I said a little prayer, and I just focused on the ball.”
Werremeyer made two shootout saves to help the Jaguars finish with a clean sheet – or three, if one counts the two attempts given to Amanda Sampson, Lee’s Summit’s first kicker. Werremeyer stopped Sampson’s first attempt, but the referee ruled that Werremeyer had come off her line and awarded Sampson a retake. So Werremeyer stopped that one, too.
“After the first save, I was really excited,” she said. “I just had to talk myself down. And I said a little prayer and got back on the line.”
Werremeyer lunged to her left to stop Elle Seek’s attempt and Izzy Shackleford’s attempt went wide. For Werremeyer, getting through the shootout meant taking the same approach she uses for any shootout situation.
“I just follow the ball, pray in between each one,” she said. “I pray for my girls to shoot.”
The shootout wasn’t the only time Werremeyer made a clutch save. In the seventh minute of the second overtime, for instance, she faced a point-blank shot from inside the 6-yard box following a Lee’s Summit corner kick. Werremeyer stuck out a foot to keep the Tigers from scoring the goal.
“The girls made it easy on me today,” she said. “So I was happy to step in when they needed me to.”
By stepping in when South needed her, Werremeyer helped the Jaguars improve to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Seven. South girls soccer coach Todd Findley – who successfully appealed to Tim Michael, the school’s activities director, to play Tuesday, rather than postpone the game – said he felt that the Jaguars got the win by playing “kind of a stereotypical game.” According to Findley, those “stereotypical” elements included great net tending by Werremeyer and hard-nosed defense.
“It’s an early-season game, but we’re always excited to beat a quality opponent like that,” he said.
Lee’s Summit dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in league play. To Lee’s Summit coach Dave Wiebenga, the loss provided a reminder that the Tigers must finish their scoring opportunities.
“That’s the big thing, you’ve got to finish,” Wiebenga said. “If you’re going to compete in this league, you have to finish.”