Lee’s Summit North struggled with handling pressure Tuesday.
That was an opinion North girls soccer coach Ryan Kelley and midfielder Madelyn Robinson shared after the Broncos’ 4-1 season-ending loss to St. Teresa’s Academy at the McDonnell Family Sports Complex.
Specifically, the Broncos struggled to handle St. Teresa’s frontline pressure, according to Kelley.
“We had a hard time getting the ball out of the back,” he said after the Class 4 sectional playoff defeat.
And the pressure got to the Broncos mentally, Kelley said.
“I think we kind of panicked a little bit early on – and we kind of got it in our heads that we just had to hit the ball, hit the ball,” he said. “And that really sunk us after we got it equalized.”
The Broncos tied it within the first 15 minutes. Junior star Lily Farkas scored a goal gave the Stars the lead in the seventh minute. Robinson, a midfielder, got the equalizer in the 13th minute by winning a scramble for a loose ball inside St. Teresa’s 18-yard box and poking the ball into an open net.
Robinson credited her goal in part to junior forward Kaylie Rock’s challenge with Stars starting goalkeeper Caroline Franke for the ball near the top of the box. According to Robinson, the ball went to Rock’s side of the field and Rock then “cut it past the goalie.” Franke tried to recover.
“The goalie tried to kick it out and I think it ricocheted off Kaylie – like, across the (face of) the goal,” Robinson recalled. “And I was just there.”
St. Teresa’s, though, began breaking down North in the 17th minute, when Farkas booted in a free kick from just outside North’s 18-yard box.
Demi Spini’s shot in the far corner made it 3-1 Stars in the 22nd minute. A goal by Farkas in the 42nd minute gave the junior forward a hat trick and helped the Stars sweep the Broncos this season. St. Teresa’s won 1-0 when the teams met on April 17 at North.
“I think the pressure kind of got to us this time a little bit more than it did the first time,” Robinson said.
With the three-goal victory, the Stars (16-5) avenged their 4-1 2017 sectional loss to the Broncos, who were the Class 4 state runners-up last season.
The win also put the Stars in the state quarterfinals, where they’ll face Park Hill this Saturday. The Trojans (19-3) defeated Liberty 3-0 on Tuesday at Park Hill South to advance.
“We were disappointed last year at the end of our season,” Stars coach Jeremy McElduff said. “And so we’re excited to get through this hurdle (sectionals) this year and looking forward to the next game, getting prepared day by day.”
The Broncos finished 10-13. To Kelley, the loss capped a stretch of soccer that began during the second half of North’s recent regular-season meeting with Lee’s Summit West and carried through the postseason, with the Broncos playing the best he had seen them play this season.
“It was encouraging to see that coming into this. (I thought), ‘Maybe there’s a chance we can pull something off,’” Kelley said. “We knew it’d be a tough task. We just weren’t quite on it today.”