Van Horn wins tight battle with Chrisman to claim Class 3 District 15 district crown

Michael Smith
The Examiner

It may not have rained during Wednesday’s Class 3 District 15 championship game between crosstown rivals, but Van Horn girls soccer coach Zach Wilson still managed to get drenched.

That’s because his players dumped the remains of the water cooler on him after his Falcons won their first district title since 2011 following a workmanlike 1-0 victory over William Chrisman at Independence All-School Stadium.

“It’s a little chilly out tonight, and we didn’t get any rain,” Wilson said. “They surprised me.”

Van Horn advances to the Class 3 sectional round and will play host to Platte County Tuesday.

William Chrisman goalkeeper Abigail Ferguson tries to keep the ball away from Van Horn's Cordilia Payne near the goal in their Class 3 District 15 championship game Wednesday at Chrisman. Payne later scored a goal to lift the Falcons to a 1-0 win and their first district title since 2011.

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but Wilson will certainly take it. It was a physical, defensive game, and neither team could maintain possession for very long.

“We definitely weren’t our sharpest,” Wilson said. “Chrisman wasn’t sharp and we weren’t sharp. It was a weird game. It could have easily been 5-4 but it was 1-0. We both played sloppy.”

After Van Horn won 9-0 against Kansas City East, Wilson said he hoped junior forward Cordilia Payne would save some goals for Chrisman (7-13) after scoring five goals. She did just that.

After a Bears defender shanked a clear attempt from her own penalty box, Payne stole the ball and started a counterattack. She had two teammates beside her and one defender to beat. She bumped into the defender, the Bears player fell down and she put in a breakaway shot early in the second half for the game’s lone goal.

Van Horn's Ciella Mupenda (6) tries to knock in a corner kick but William Chrisman goalkeeper Abigail Ferguson, center, punches the ball away during the Class 3 District 15 championship game Wednesday at Chrisman. Van Horn went on to a 1-0 win for their first district title in 10 years.

“I had a similar opportunity earlier in the game and my shot hit one of their girls in the face,” Payne said. “I had a few open shots I missed. Adrianna (Lara) missed a few. We had shots, we just missed them all – except one.”

Chrisman head coach Justin Schmidt said he felt like his team created more chances than the Falcons (18-4). One of the better ones came late in the second half when sophomore Karis Ramel had an open shot from inside the Van Horn penalty box from the left wing. The ball looked like it was headed inside the upper corner, but Falcons goalkeeper Erika Parrish, who is 6-foot, leaped and knocked the ball away for a key save.

William Chrisman's AnneMarie McDonald (16) and Van Horn's Anya Linstrom, right, go tumbling while battling for the ball in the Class 3 District 15 championship game Wednesday at Chrisman. Chrisman kept it close but Van Horn claimed a 1-0 win.

“I just had to watch it,” Parrish said. “I’ve been practicing those types of saves. I was ready for it.”

Added Schmidt: “We created more quality chances, we just didn’t finish them.”

Chrisman’s defense was a bright spot as it limited the opportunities of a high-powered Falcons offense. Van Horn had five shots on goal but many of the attempts weren’t hit very hard and were saved by goalkeeper Abigail Ferguson.

“Their four in the midfield can do a good job keeping possession,” Schmidt said, “but we wanted to take away their long shots and take away Anya (Linstrom) and their other two forwards. I thought we did that. It was just one mistake that cost us.”

But despite struggling on the field, Van Horn continued its special season, one the girls team hasn’t had in a long time.

“(The season) has been a lot of fun and it’s a product of hard work,” Wilson said. “Those ladies put in time and just bought in.”

Van Horn's Alexandria Christman heads a ball forward as William Chrisman's Cameron Wells (10) looks on during the Class 3 District 15 championship game Wednesday at Chrisman. Christman and the Falcons beat Chrisman 1-0.