Wildcats blow lead, prevail in OT

Lee's Summit North rallies for lead but Blue Springs ties it late and wins on Alsup's goal in overtime

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner

Blue Springs scored late in regulation to force overtime and carried that momentum into the extra period to claim a win over Lee’s Summit North Tuesday.

Sophomore Garrett Alsup scored the game-winner, coming on a pass from Matthew Martinez in the 85th minute at Peve Stadium.

“I made the initial run and I came back to the ball and he (Matthew) found me,” Alsup said of his winning goal. “I turned around and saw everyone running at me. I was really hyped.”

The pass from Martinez came in the right side of the box and Alsup then sent a shot into the back of the net to end the Suburban Big Eight contest on a night where the temperatures hovered just above freezing.

Martinez was the hero in regulation for the Wildcats (11-8, 6-6 Big Eight) when he scored a goal in the 78th minute to force overtime.

“Two years ago, it is over and we throw the game away,” Blue Springs coach Michael Palermo said of his team’s former tendency for losing leads in the second half. “I’m very proud how they fought back and won it in overtime. Two years ago we beat Lee’s Summit North for the first time in like 10 to 13 years and to be able to get them twice in two years – we are playing really good at the end of the season when you need to be. We are almost back to being fully healthy at the right time.”

It was a rare win in the series between the two teams dating back to 2009. Since that time frame, the Broncos were 27-1 against Blue Springs, which got a 5-0 win in the second of three meetings last year.

Blue Springs has now won four in a row and five of the past six this season, the only setback in that span a 1-0 loss to Raymore-Peculiar.

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead early on a goal in the fifth minute, but in a four-minute span midway through the first half each team scored. North (8-7, 7-5) tied it on a goal by Jose Vega, keyed by a freekick by Jackson Briley in the 22nd minute.

Martinez gave the Wildcats the lead back four minutes later. His dribble faked out a North defender, he ran to his left and fired a shot across the box.

Martinez, a senior, nearly made it 3-1 when he had a look at a wide open net off a deflection, but North’s Ryan McCain cleared the shot and kept the deficit at one.

“Unfortunately we have kind of developed a pattern where we haven’t come up and played well in the first half,” North coach Ryan Kelley said. “Credit tonight to Blue Springs – they came out hard and the first seven to 10 minutes they were pressing and all over us. They did a good job of making it challenging for us. We didn’t handle the first half well and we buried ourselves. We showed in the second half we can come back, we just couldn’t quite hold onto it.”

North forged a tie in the 52nd minute on an own goal that bounced off a Blue Springs defender and into the goal. The shot that led to the goal was taken by Nolan Piedimonte.

Nine minutes later, the Broncos took a 3-2 lead. Carson Wilcox, after getting a pass from Cameron Shampine, dribbled through two defenders and chipped a shot over the Blue Springs goalkeeper and into the net.

North was three minutes away from the win when a foul set up a free kick by Blue Springs from 25 yards out. The Broncos set up a wall as Martinez lined up to kick it. His first kick went off the wall and right back to him. He fired a second shot and went toward the left post and into the net in the 78th minute.

Blue Springs got a good look with less than a minute left, but a shot sailed over the goal post and overtime followed.

“You are feeling like it is right there,” Kelley said of the near win, which would’ve been the third in a row for the Broncos. “It is hard to bounce back. Blue Springs finished opportunities. It is disappointing to not get the win. I think we hurt ourselves with the play in the first half. I think it was too much of a hole and too much to climb out of the hole time after time, again and again. Eventually it will catch up to you, and it did tonight.”

North closes out the regular season on Thursday playing at Rockhurst, while Blue Springs hosts Blue Springs South Thursday in a makeup game from Monday that was postponed due to weather.