The Blue Springs South boys soccer season ended the way Tuesday night’s weather played out – cold, dreary and a little foggy.
The Jaguars had confidence coming into the Class 4 sectional playoff against Rockhurst that they could break the streak of four straight losses to the Hawklets, but an onslaught of first-half goals shellshocked the Jags.
“I’m obviously disappointed,” said Blue Springs South head coach Jon Grice. “I know we’re a better team than what we showed tonight. I know we’re a better team than we played tonight.”
By halftime it was obvious this wasn’t the year South (13-10), which will lose nine seniors, would get over the hump, nor would they come close to replicating the tight game the two teams played in the 2-1 Rockhurst win exactly two months prior. This time the Hawklets (18-6-1) built a commanding 5-0 lead and went on to win 7-1 Tuesday night at Dasta Stadium.
“There’s some guys on this team that have played all four years on varsity,” Grice said, “have been on the field a ton for me for four years of their career. And then a lot of those guys on the field tonight are three-year letter winners.
“That’s a culture. That’s a whole team that when these guys graduate, it’s going to be a different team next year. And these guys have been such a part of the program for so long that my heart breaks for those guys because they know that we’re better than what we showed tonight. And they know that things could have gone differently.”
Caden McLagan put Rockhurst on the board in the eighth minute with a shot from 25 yards out that skipped a little in front of goal and maybe fooled Jaguar keeper Alec Radford.
Two goals came from Nick Pileggi’s long throw-ins on the left side. Liam Bailey got pushed in the back after receiving Pileggi’s throw, earned a penalty kick and converted it in the 15th minute for a 2-0 lead despite Radford diving the correct way.
“We’re on the sidelines talking about adjustments to make at half,” said Grice, “let’s just ride this out, we’ll get into halftime down two, we’ll make adjustments and be OK. And all of a sudden it’s five.”
Another wave of goals came for the Hawklets to completely bust the game open.
Another cross, this time from Isaiah Cherry’s boot, came in from the left side, got past Radford toward Bailey and a Jag defender, and the ball trickled into the goal in the 25th minute.
Four minutes later, the lead went to 4-0 as Thomas Gansner found himself alone near the top of the penalty area and took a shot. Radford got in front of the ball, but it snuck in between him and the near post.
Just before half Gansner added another off of a Pileggi throw, flicked on by Max Goodwin.
“Our kids just came out and executed,” said Rockhurst head coach Chris Lawson. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Blue Springs South, but I’m really proud of our team. Our team needed tonight. Tonight was probably the best 40 minutes they’ve played.”
Senior Bryce Millican got the Jaguars on the board in the 74th minute, putting away a pass from Parker Welch.