In just three minutes, Lee’s Summit North wiped away almost 50 minutes of frustration Monday night.
Down a goal while fighting toe-to-toe with a determined and improved Blue Springs squad, Lee's Summit North found the net twice in that short span in the second half and escaped with a 2-1 victory over the Wildcats in a Suburban Big Six soccer match at Peve Stadium.
Blue Springs, 7-2-1 overall and 0-1 in the Big Six, had the lead after Dom Zubeck connected with a high shot just over 12 minutes into the second half. Tyler Dailey scored the equalizer for the Broncos seven minutes later, and Liam Frank knocked in the go-ahead goal three minutes after that.
“Our focus on the goal hasn’t been where we need it to be on the season,” Lee’s Summit North coach Ryan Kelley said. “But we have had those moments where the goals come fast. Once we wake up and become locked in, they come quick for us.”
Lee’s Summit North (4-3-1, 2-0) had plenty of chances early. The Broncos outshot the Wildcats 8-3 in the first half yet had trouble finishing opportunities against a spirited Wildcats defense. Goalkeeper Max Hays had several big saves in the first 40 minutes, including a leaping one-hand grab off a Broncos corner kick.
“We weren’t winning as many 50-50 balls as we should have,” Dailey said. “They had a solid defense but we definitely could have scored more.”
That defense held tough going into the second half as the Wildcats grabbed the lead on Zubeck’s shot high into the net with about 28 minutes to play in the second half.
But that lead would be gone after Daniel banged a ball off the crossbar and into the net with 21 minutes to go. And with just over 18 minutes left, Daniel pushed a through ball down the middle of the 18-yard box to Frank, who made a point-blank shot in front of the net.
“At halftime we talked about being more creative with our runs up top,” Dailey said. “Liam made that diagonal run across the top and I saw it out of the corner of my eye and I slotted it.”
While disappointed with the loss, Blue Springs coach Mike Palermo could still see more signs of progress. Blue Springs, which has already matched its win total from last season, has struggled to be competitive in the Big Six for several years. Hanging tough against Lee’s Summit North, which routed the Wildcats 6-0 the last time they met last year, showed Palermo that this year could be different.
“We’re not just going out there seeing if we can hang with teams anymore,” Palermo said. “We’re going out to compete with them and get W’s now.”