Kevin Steffen scored Free State's only goal in an 8-1 loss to Shawnee Mission South.
Breakaways broke the back of Free State High's soccer Thursday. Shawnee Mission South recorded an 8-1 victory over the Firebirds at YSI.
"It's hard to stop them from scoring when they have an open path to the goal," said Free State forward Todd Wilkins.
The Raiders did not waste any time in taking the lead. Only five minutes after kickoff, the Raiders' Kevin Gorman scored on a crossing pass only a few yards outside of Free State's goal box. A little over six minutes later the Raiders scored on another crossing pattern.
The next three Shawnee Mission South goals came on breakaway opportunities.
"They had a lot of speed up front and we didn't have a lot on defense," Free State coach Phil Lee said. "They were using it to create a lot of opportunities."
By halftime the Firebirds trailed 5-0. Three more goals in the second half added up to Free State's second-most lopsided defeat of the year. The Raiders had outshot the Firebirds 21-7
Firebirds coach Phil Lee said a new offensive philosophy also may have contributed to the defensive breakdowns.
"We were attacking more on the offensive end than usual," Lee said. "We brought some of our defenders up. We were willing to give up some more goals to try and get some things done on offense."
The added offensive pressure finally paid off with 4:28 left. Wilkins penetrated the Raiders' defense and snuck a pass to forward Kevin Steffen. Steffen scored on an arching shot from 30 feet away that narrowly missed both a Raiders defender and goaltender Kyle Vohland.
"Scoring was important for us," Steffen said. "It felt great to break the shutout."
Lee said the offense showed a lot of improvement.
"We're doing a good job of getting the ball down the field and beating them down the sidelines," Lee said. "We just need to work on finishing."
Free State (1-8) will play host to Leavenworth Thursday at YSI.