The last time Blue Springs junior Mady Cates had a hat trick was during an indoor soccer game in the offseason.
She couldn’t have picked a better time to get her first one in an outdoor setting Tuesday.
Cates scored all three of Blue Springs’ goals in a 3-0 victory over William Chrisman in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 14 tournament.
“(My teammates) helped me out so much, I am so grateful for them,” Cates said. “I could not be more proud of them. I was so surprised by (the hat trick).”
Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan noted that it wasn’t Cates’ best performance.
“I don’t think that was her best game and I think Mady will tell you that,” McLagan said. “But hey, she scored three goals, so who cares? You can have a horrible game if you’d like if you score three goals.”
McLagan said he didn’t think the team played its best game either.
“We were a little panicky,” McLagan said. “I thought we could have possessed the ball way better than we did. I think we were nervous. This was the first time we were in a semifinal where we had a chance to win it (since 2014).”
The Wildcats (8-13) will play Fort Osage, the last team the program beat in the playoffs, at 6 p.m. Thursday for the district title.
“Fort Osage is a very good team,” McLagan said. “They have a lot of confidence because they are 18 and whatever. They got a couple of very good players, but so do we.”
Cates showed she was one of those when she booted a ball out of mid-air on a through ball from a teammate and into the goal for a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute.
She scored again on a wide-open shot in the 60th minute. She got a through ball from junior Abigail Grisolano and tucked away a close-range shot.
Her third goal might have been the most impressive. She slid and kicked the ball from more than 30 yards out and put one just under the crossbar and over the outstretched hands of Chrisman goalkeeper Karina Vela with 6:54 left in regulation.
“That was the Mady Cates dive,” she said with a laugh. “The satisfaction of it going over the keeper and into the goal was amazing.”
This season has been a turnaround for the Wildcats’ program. They won their first conference game in four years this season (the Wildcats won three total) and on Tuesday won their first playoff game in five years.
“Our confidence has shot up after winning those conference games,” Cates said. “We’re full of pride right now.
“Honestly, the attitude difference my freshman and sophomore year, we were kind of like, ‘Let’s just go out there and get this over with.’ We were just trying to get some extra training in. This year, we are in it to win it. We are hungry for some wins.”
The Bears (16-4) had their most successful season in program history come to an end as they managed just three shot attempts. They will lose eight seniors to graduation.
“I told the girls after the game that there has never been a (girls soccer) team at Chrisman that has been this successful before,” Chrisman coach John Straub said. “It was a disappointing way to end our season, but doesn’t take away from what we accomplished.”