Last year, Blue Springs South all-state player Brie Severns accounted for 60 percent of her team’s goals as she tallied 25.
While she had to carry the bulk of the load during the 2017-18 campaign, she may not have to do that this season. That appeared to be the case in Tuesday’s Suburban Big Six Conference matchup with crosstown rival Blue Springs.
Severns scored one goal, but got plenty of help. Three other players, including freshmen Maddie Rosenblum and Khaliana Garrett, scored in a 4-1 victory over the Wildcats at Peve Stadium.
“With our talented freshman, Khali and Maddie and Abby Carino as a junior and Logan Abernathy as a senior, we feel like we have really have some really dangerous weapons,” South coach Todd Findley said. “We feel like when (Severns) is double-marked or triple-marked, we have good opportunities with other players.”
The Jaguars (4-1, 1-0 Big Six) and WIldcats (2-3, 0-1) remained scoreless after the first half, with South outshooting Blue Springs 6-1. The Wildcats double- and triple-teamed Severns to take her out of the game, and it worked for the first 53 minutes.
Garrett helped the Jaguars get on the board in the 52nd minute. She received a through ball, dribbled the ball to the back side of the penalty box, deked a defender, was tripped from behind, but still managed to get a cross off to sophomore Braylee Childers, who punched in a close-range shot for a 1-0 lead.
“I got a great pass from one of my teammates, it was a through ball, and I was able to dribble the ball around and pass it to Childers. She had an amazing shot,” Garrett said.
Just a couple of minutes before that, Garrett displayed her advanced ball-handling skills, weaving past five defenders before just missing a shot wide right.
“It’s not often that a freshman can come into a big school like ours and start and make you wow at a lot of those plays like that at the central mid position,” Findley said of Garrett. “She’s the real deal. She’s fun to watch.”
She didn’t miss on her second attempt, through. Garrett drilled a direct free kick from 25 yards out toward Blue Springs goalkeeper Gabi Elliott and it went off her hands and into the goal for a 2-0 advantage in the 58th minute. Rosenblum then got in on the scoring just nine minutes later. Severns had a shot blocked by a Blue Springs defender. The ball went backward and the freshman tracked it down and blasted a shot from the right wing into an open space on the left side of the goal to give South a comfortable 3-0 lead.
“If Brie hadn’t taken the ball down there, I would have never had the opportunity,” Rosenblum said. “She was able to get it back to me and I got the shot off.”
Severns then scored after she was tripped inside the penalty box with 5:16 left. She punched in a penalty kick for a four-goal lead.
“We changed our formation from a 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2, so that worked a little better for us because we had more players in the midfield,” Rosenblum said of South’s halftime adjustments.
Just 12 seconds later, Wildcats senior forward Jazzy Taylor beat South goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer to a ball at the top of the 18-yard box and banged a shot off the left post and into the net to spoil the Jags’ chances at a shutout.
“We have about six ice packs out right now and a couple of my best players didn’t play tonight,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said. “No excuses. (The Jaguars) are a better squad, there’s no question. The heart my team showed, with the amount of injuries – and we ran out of players to sub – was fantastic.”
Even after a tough loss, McLagan is hopeful that his team can end its three-year drought without a conference win soon.
“We lack depth, so we have to be injury free,” McLagan said. “We’re not injury free tonight. I think we will finally get a (conference) win this year when we are injury free.”