Topeka Last year Lawrence High's seventh-seeded soccer team stunned the no. 2 seed. Not this year.
Washburn Rural beat the Lions, 2-1, in the 6A state soccer regionals Tuesday at McElroy Field.
"The difference was that they are very, very athletic," said Lawrence coach Keith Nelson. "They were able to get things done their way and we weren't. That's a good team we played. They're going to have that kind of success when they're able to press the ball."
The Lions (6-11) did take an early 1-0 lead. Sixteen minutes into the game, junior forward Robert Petters found senior forward Jamie Peterson near the Junior Blues' goal. Peterson crossed in front of the net to the right side and kicked the ball toward the left side of the goal past the goalkeeper.
"I got a good pass from Robert and was able to get the ball in," said Peterson, who said he might play basketball or soccer at college next year. "It was an easy play to make with the pass I got."
After that goal, Washburn Rural controlled the ball for the rest of the first half and most of the second.
"They were winning the 50-50 balls," Peterson said. "When they did that they were able to control everything. It was their game when they did that."
The Junior Blues had 10 legitimate shots on goal, while Lawrence could muster just four. Despite letting two balls slip past him for goals, sophomore goalkeeper Sean Hargis made some great stops and kept his team close.
"Sean had an excellent game," Peterson said. "He allowed the game to stay close by stopping some of those balls. He let us stay in the game."
Both of Washburn Rural's goals came off second chance shots. The first, at the 16-minute mark in the first half, occurred when Junior Blues' sophomore midfielder Andrew Forrest kicked the ball toward the goal and Hargis dove to his right to stop the ball. It ricocheted off his chest and sophomore forward Cole Copeland knocked it in a few feet in front of the net unchallenged.
The second goal came the same way. WIth 13 minutes remaining, Hargis dove right, blocked the ball and Washburn Rural junior midfielder Jeff Milberger, who was surrounded by at least three Lions, was able to tap in the winning goal.
During the final 13 minutes the Lions never got a good chance to score. They had opportunities near the Junior Blues' goal, but Washburn Rural's defense proved too tough for Lawrence to break.
"In those last minutes you're trying to think of any way to score a goal," he said. "You just want to put it in the goal. You think that this might be the last time you play soccer and you don't want it to end."