The Blue Springs South girls soccer team was in a less than ideal situation in the opening game of its tournament Monday against perennial powerhouse Lee’s Summit.
The Jaguars were missing two all-state players in junior forward Brie Severns, who was at a soccer camp out of town, and junior goalkeeper Alaina Werremeyer, who is battling a groin injury.
They were also without freshman sensation Khaliana Garrett, who was also at the soccer camp. Add in an injury to freshman Maddie Rosenblum in the second half, and South’s depth was really tested.
The Jaguars won the battle of attrition and had other players step up in a 2-1 win over the Tigers at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.
“I told the girls that Brie and Alaina are proven champions,” South coach Todd Findley said. “And Khali is having an amazing year. The girls fought and rallied around each other and played really good soccer with some key players missing. It’s not that I doubted them for one minute, it’s just really refreshing to see that we’re missing three of our best players, and we still play well like that and move the ball.”
Goalkeeper Ashly Johnson did an admirable job filling in for Werremeyer, tallying nine saves. She normally splits time with Abigail Carino in the net on the junior varsity team. She got her first varsity start and allowed just one goal to Lee’s Summit sophomore Linsi Mashburn midway through the first half.
“It was tough to fill in Alaina’s shoes,” Johnson said. “My teammates were encouraging and helped me get through the game.
“We missed (Childers’ and Garrett’s) speed and ball control, but the other girls did well.”
Johnson was praised for her effort by Findley and her teammates.
“Ashly did great, she really stepped up her game,” senior Logan Abernathy said. “I am really proud of her. I know she was nervous, but she showed us what she can do.”
After the Tigers took a 1-0 lead, the Jaguars’ offense got going. With 6:52 left in the first half, Braylee Childers tied it when she sent a rocket from the left wing in the upper right corner of the goal. She scored the equalizer after missing a penalty kick wide left earlier.
“After I missed my PK, I got the support from my team,” Childers said. “I needed to get another one and thought I needed to do this. I didn’t want to let the team down.
“We were missing some good players, but we have some good players to replace them.”
Early in the second half, Childers received a short corner kick from Carino and sent a cross in front of the goalmouth. Kennedi Hooks had a point-blank shot attempt but Lee’s Summit goalkeeper Ballie Prier made a diving save.
Prier later made a sliding kick save on a turnaround shot from Carino, but South finally took the lead when Abernathy received a short corner kick and blasted a long shot from the left side of the field and inside the far post in the 73rd minute for the game-winner.
“If it wasn’t for (Carino’s) layoff, that wouldn’t have ever happened,” Abernathy said. “If it wasn’t for our team hustling to get that corner, none of that would have happened.
“I was meaning to cross it, but it went in.”
Findley certainly was impressed with both of the goals from his team.
“Those were two highlight-reel goals,” Findley said. “It’s really exciting to see that.”