High-flying Van Horn remains undefeated with rout of Truman

Michael Smith
The Examiner
Van Horn's Adrianna Lara (15) drives the ball down field against Truman's Salem Gray (19) in Thursday's game at Van Horn. Lara scored one goal to help the Falcons claim a 7-0 win to improve to 8-0 on the season.

After Thursday’s girls soccer match against Truman, Van Horn head coach Zach Wilson pointed toward the sky.

“Hey look at the Falcon flyover,” Wilson exclaimed.

There was a flock of six birds circling above Van Horn High School, which has a falcon as a mascot. Maybe it was a sign of how well Van Horn’s season has gone thus far as the team improved to 8-0 after a 7-0 rout of the Patriots.

“We call them the Van Horn Falcons, but they’re probably hawks,” Wilson said. “It’s a lot of fun. I have such likeable girls. They work really hard. I am loving the ride so far.”

This season is easily the best start to the season for any Van Horn girls soccer team in program history. The program’s previous best start was when the Falcons won six of their first seven games during the 2019 campaign. Prior to that season, Van Horn only won the first two games in a row at best.

The game against the Patriots might have been Senior Night, but it was one junior and two underclassmen who stood out for Van Horn.

Van Horn's Cordilia Payne (8) is congratulated by teammates Adrianna Lara (15) and Anya Linstrom (10) after scoring the final goal in a 7-0 rout of Truman Thursday.

Junior forward Cordilla Payne capped the team’s scoring with a breakaway goal late in the second half and she also tapped in a close-range shot off a corner kick from sophomore Anya Linstrom.

Sophomores Alexandria Christman and Linstrom each had two goals in the first half to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead going into halftime; and freshman Adrianna Lara got the team’s other goal when she drilled a shot off the hands of Truman goalkeeper Katherine Dillon, which ricocheted into the net.

“We had some new people step up today and it’s nice to have balanced scoring among our players,” Wilson said. “We have several good players.”

But two players stood out to Truman coach Manny Tovar in particular.

“They have two players (Lara and Linstrom) that control the game for them,” he said. “As long as they have those two, they will do well throughout the season.”

And the Falcons still dominated even when possession wasn’t a strength.

“We are normally very possession heavy,” Wilson said. “Today we struggled with possession, but we still finished our chances.”

And the play of Linstrom was a big part of that as she is becoming one of the premier players in the Kansas City area. She said she was a beneficiary of the play of her fellow midfielders.

Van Horn captain Anya Linstrom (10) works the ball down field past Truman's Cate Maxey (16) in Thursday's game at Van Horn. Linstrom scored two goals to help the Falcons to a 7-0 win.

“Our midfield was very hesitant to pass the ball to feet in the first 10 minutes,” Linstrom said. “We were just not connecting on passes, but we just got it for the last 70.

“We have a really great camaraderie across our team. We’ve got a good balance of seniors, juniors, sophomores. We work really well together.”

Christman agreed.

“We made history. It’s great to keep progressing,” Christman said of the hot start.

Truman (3-4) struggled to create chances in Van Horn’s third of the field as the Patriots get acclimated to a handful of new players.

“In the second half, we did really well,” Tovar said. “It was only (3-0). But we only had four subs and those subs never played before. It’s hard to put people in. We have a lot of inexperience.”