South plays for late coach, blanks Blue Springs

Colby Gordon Special to The Examiner
Blue Springs South senior captain Mollie Maupin (21) hoists the Dave Sheridan Cup trophy after the Jaguars blanked rival Blue Springs 5-0 Thursday at South. Brian Davidson | Special to The Examiner

Watching from above, Dave Sheridan surely beamed with pride Thursday night.

The former Blue Springs South soccer assistant coach who recently died due to complications from cancer saw his team dominate rival Blue Springs 5-0 in the Cancer Battler Cup at Thursday at Larry Stewart Memorial Stadium.

“I feel like this was the biggest game of the year for us because it was so personal because of (Sheridan),” said South junior Nina Stine, who scored two goals. “I feel like everyone plays better when it’s personal and we all had someone to play for, whether it was Dave Sheridan, a family member or anyone out in the crowd. That’s what made (Thursday) even more special.”

With the game’s prize renamed the Dave Sheridan Trophy, the Jaguars set the tone from the opening whistle, ruling time of possession and limiting the Wildcats to just three shots on goal.

“There’s so many emotions going with honoring Dave Sheridan, it being the Cancer Battler Cup game and the rivalry, I wasn’t sure how we were going to come out and if we were going to play heavy-hearted or inspired,” South coach Todd Findley said. “We definitely played inspired. We have a smart group of players and we talked about taking all of this to heart for Coach Sheridan, their own family and people who have struggled. And they came out and played for them, so that was really cool to see.”

Less than 10 minutes into the game, Stine ran onto a well-placed long ball from Mollie Maupin near the right side of the Wildcats goalie box and fired it into the net.

“I got a beautiful pass from Mollie,” Stine said. “That’s where I get most of my goals.”

Tori Findley scored on a shot from near the top of the box for a 2-0 Jaguars lead, then moments later, Stine finished a corner kick from Maupin.

Maupin earned her third assist of the game when Mallory Kroencke knocked in a goal off another corner kick just before halftime to push the South lead to 4-0.

“We don’t have much height, so it’s kind of a question of winning the ball, and we were doing a great job of just battling in the box,” Maupin said. “Everyone stepped up and was aggressive and went for it.”

Kayla Brashear finished the Jaguars' scoring midway through the second half when she used her sprinter’s speed to beat the defense to a long pass in the box and slid the ball into the goal.

“We had four different scorers on five goals and three players get assists,” Findley said. “What’s great about our team is that no opponent can really target one player. It makes us feel pretty good and hopefully that benefits us in district play having multiple people who can score and take the team on their shoulders.”

After receiving the trophy and posing for pictures with it, South’s players noted they couldn’t have imagined any other result for this game.

“This was a huge game,” Maupin said. “Coach Sheridan has meant a lot to this program and we played for him tonight. A lot of us have heavy hearts and we know a lot of loved ones who have passed. Especially this year, it seems like things have been tough. We all stepped up, we knew it was a big game and it was also a conference game against a rival so we knew we had to take care of business.”