In Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Lee’s Summit North, Blue Springs South girls soccer coach Todd Findley said he felt like his players put too much pressure on themselves to win that game.
The Jaguars approach was much different in their approach in their final game of their home tournament against Blue Valley (Kan.) West, which was postponed from last Friday because of inclement weather.
They played “free and easy,” Findley said, and that helped South earn a 3-1 win over the defending Class 6A Kansas state champion Friday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.
“That really brought our spirits up, especially after taking tough losses,” South junior forward Brie Severns said. “This was one of our best games of the season.”
Added Findley: “We just didn’t seem to play with the heart and passion like we did before (in his team’s last two losses). We had two of our best practices this week and our girls played with fun, energy and passion today. When we do that, we play pretty well together.”
Blue Valley West and South both went 2-1 in the tournament, but West earned an extra point for a shutout it had in a 2-0 victory against Lee’s Summit, which gave them the tournament title.
It still was a big win for the Jaguars (10-4), who made all three of their shots on goal. A win against one of the top programs in Kansas could be what gets it back on track after consecutive losses to North and Park Hill South.
“A lot of us were down after that,” freshman midfidler Maddie Rosenblum said. “This boosted our confidence back up.”
Findley said a lot of credit goes to his defense, which he said played its best game of the season. With starter Alaina Werremeyer still nursing an injury, Abigail Carino made her first varsity start as a goalkeeper and notched six saves. She also had a key collection in front of the goalmouth in the 79th minute, with a West attacker fighting for the ball, which helped salt the game away. Center backs Mady Geren and Courtney Cook also played a big factor in the defensive effort.
“Alaina is still out and we miss her tremendously,” Findley said of his all-state goalkeeper. “Ashly Johnson filled in for us the last three games and did a good job. Abby just got cleared to take her mask off for a broken nose, so I wanted to try her in goal tonight. She did fantastic.”
West controlled possession for most of the game, but South took advantage of the few opportunities they had. Severns had a pass deflect off a West defender, but Rosenblum collected it and lobbed a shot over goalkeeper Zoey Greenberg for a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute.
“Everyone was telling me to shoot it when I came outside the box and I just shot it and hoped it was going in,” Roseblum said.
South took that lead into the second half before West tied the game when West senior Marissa Popoola scored off an assist from Alayna Sutton early to tie it at 1-all. West missed a few shots just wide of the goal and Carino made a couple of leaping saves to keep the score deadlocked.
With 9:49 left in regulation, Severns was fouled inside the 18-yard box after a long pass down the sideline from Mya Trober found Kennedi Hooks, who crossed it over to the junior.
Severns took the penalty kick and pushed it inside the right post for a 2-1 lead that prompted a Findley fist-pump. Severns put the game away with 46 seconds left when she faked a West defender and put a shot inside the upper left corner of the goal.
“That was a perfect ball from Logan (Abernathy) and a perfect setup,” Severns said.
Findley was certainly impressed by the shot.
“Oh my gosh ... Brie put so many good feints and fakes on people and cut across the field and put that ball in the upper 90. Not a lot of girls can do that.”