Emporia Lawrence High picked a fine time to shine.
On Tuesday, the Lions opened the Class 6A state soccer playoffs with a 2-1 regional victory over Emporia to snap a four-game losing streak.
"We have peaked at the right time," LHS coach Keith Nelson said. "Everyone is 0-0 now. Rankings mean nothing. Eventhough Emporia had a better record, we felt we played a much stronger schedule. We felt we were the better team and we went out and proved it."
Junior Jamie Peterson and senior Nathan Borland scored for the Lions. Senior Zack Hemenway provided both assists.
Peterson's goal came in the 10th minute and Emporia scored four minutes later.
"From that point we took control and took it to them," Nelson said.
Borland scored the game-winning goal in the 32nd minute.
LHS blanked the Spartans in the final 40 minutes to secure the playoff win.
"The second half we dominated them and outplayed them," said Nelson, whose Lions improved to 5-12.
"We had so many opportunities."
Emporia finished with a 11-6 record. LHS will play Leavenworth (3-14) on Thursday at Youth Sports Inc. Nelson said a time had not been set for the Lawrence-Leavenworth regional contest. Leavenworth eliminated Free State from the playoffs on Monday with a 4-1 victory.
Before the victory over Emporia, Lawrence hadn't won since a 4-2 win over Leavenworth on Oct. 9. "It's never easy to beat a good team twice in a row," Nelson said. "I think we're a better team than our record indicates and I think Leavenworth is better than its record indicates."