Did Fort Osage get too comfortable, or did North Kansas City just get tougher?
A little of both.
Fort Osage seemed in control after scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the Suburban Mid Seven girls soccer match Thursday night. Then the shots stopped coming, and Northtown struck for two quick goals of its own.
But the Indians righted the ship before halftime, and when Aliyah Ayala completed a hat trick with bang-bang goals in the second half, Fort Osage was well on its way to a 5-2 victory on its home field in Suburban Middle Seven Conference action.
Ayala rifled a shot from just inside the 18-yard box less than three minutes into the game for her first goal of the night. When senior forward Megan Lyon angled a shot that got inside the far post less than three minutes later for the first of her two goals, Fort Osage had a 2-0 lead and plenty of momentum.
That momentum gradually diminished when Northtown started to pack in its defense around Ayala and Lyon. It disappeared when Hornets forward Ellie Super turned and fired in a shot from the top of the box in the 26th minute. Super added another goal from the exact same spot seven minutes later for a 2-2 tie.
“We came out to a great start and maybe mentally switched off for 15 minutes or so,” Fort Osage coach Michael Brown said. “And Northtown pressed us high up the field and kept the ball on our side and we struggled to get back on our own half and keep possession.”
Ayala, who already has 24 goals this season, said the Indians struggled as Northtown stiffened.
“They’re a very athletic team,” Ayala said. “They knew where we were trying to go with the ball so they stepped in and made it more difficult for us for sure. I feel like we relaxed a little bit but we bounced back quick.”
Fort Osage (7-1, 5-0 Middle Seven) regained the lead for good three minutes before halftime when Lyon charged into the box and buried the ball inside the far post her second goal.
Fourteen minutes into the second half, Ayala scored her second goal on a ball from Lyon in the middle of the box. She completed her hat trick just over a minute later with a free kick after she was tackled just outside the box.
“What I’m extremely proud of is the girls’ response,” Brown said. “Before halftime they recognized what was happening on the field and were able to come together as a team and respond before the coaches even said anything. They snapped themselves out of it.”
And came away with yet another conference victory, one that came with a lesson for the youthful Indians about staying dialed in.
“We’ve been winning quite a bit of our games,” Ayala said. “We just need to make sure we don’t slip at all; don’t lose the focus. We have to keep going every time.”