Stellar SM West pounds LHS

A 4-0 loss doesn’t thrill Lawrence High’s soccer squad, but co-coach Matt Makens said his team played great and avoided embarrassment Thursday night at the Youth Sports Inc. fields.

The Lions’ opponent, Shawnee Mission West, is the state’s top team and has been tapped the sixth-best team in the nation by one soccer publication.

The 0-7-1 Lions easily could have been blown out.

“If they would have given up for even five minutes, this one would have ended by the mercy rule,” Makens said after the Lions stuck with the Vikings for a full 80 minutes.

“I think this game not only showed our players but anyone who supports LHS soccer that our guys are going to compete until the end.”

The Lions competed, but the highly efficient offensive attack of SM West was just too much.

About 10 minutes into the game, Viking Lee Hubbard blasted a deflected ball from six yards outside the box past LHS goalie Sean Hargis.

SM West found the net 10 minutes later when Nate Hirt tapped in another deflected shot.

But the Lions didn’t go away, and Hargis came up with a couple of athletic saves to go into the half with just a 2-0 deficit.

The Vikings maintained their crisp passing game in the second half, and eventually something had to give. In the 51st minute, Anthony Dallen drilled an open shot into the right corner.

SM West finished the night with its prettiest goal when Matt Quandt placed a perfect ball at the feet of a sprinting Peter Huhnerkoch, who tapped it diagonally past an outstretched Hargis.

“Even though they got four on the board, I felt the game could have been a lot worse,” Hargis said.

“They’re one of the top teams in the nation. I’m really proud of our guys and their effort — we never gave up. If we can build off of this we’re going to get a win real soon.”