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High School Sports

High School Sports

Unbeaten Olathe East overpowers Free State soccer, 4-0, in state quarterfinals

Free State goalkeeper Elena Auer dives for a ball late in the second period against Olathe East in a Class 6A state quarterfinal game on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in Olathe. The shot was wide-left of the goal, but the Firebirds still fell to the Hawks, 4-0.

Free State goalkeeper Elena Auer dives for a ball late in the second period against Olathe East in a Class 6A state quarterfinal game on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in Olathe. The shot was wide-left of the goal, but the Firebirds still fell to the Hawks, 4-0.

May 23, 2012

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— Free State High’s girls soccer team rarely has been outmatched on the field this season, the most successful in program history.

Then again, not one team in the state has had an answer this year for unbeaten Olathe East, which knocked the Firebirds out of the postseason with a 4-0, Class 6A state quarterfinals victory on Tuesday at College Boulevard Activity Center.

The Hawks (19-0) often proved bigger, stronger and faster than FSHS (12-5-2) — not by much, but enough to make a difference and advance O-East to the state semifinals.

Hurting Free State’s margin for error early was a lack of offensive chances. While O-East senior Laura Schnell pounded a free kick for a score from about 40 yards out in the sixth minute, and teammates Haley Hanson and Kirstyn Corder scored in the final five minutes of the first half, the Firebirds, fresh off their first regional championship in program history, only put together two shots in the first 40 minutes.

Coach Kelly Barah said the Firebirds knew they couldn’t outrun O-East, so they tried to build attacks.

“We just couldn’t connect that last pass to get us that look on goal,” Barah said.

According to senior Kylee Loneker, the Hawks’ talent level muddied Free State’s offense early on.

“Olathe East is so good, we knew we weren’t gonna get as many opportunities as we usually do,” Loneker said. “Every single pass, every single throw, every single kick, it has to have a purpose to it. I think that’s why we were just so frantic.”

Thanks to strong defensive play from Free State’s Olivia Hodison, Rylee Fuerst, Jessica Ferguson and others, Olathe East went 30 minutes without scoring in the first half. At that juncture it seemed the underdog Firebirds might have a chance at scoring an upset. But Hanson turned and fired a goal from about 20 yards out in the 36th minute, and Corder beat FSHS goalkeeper Elena Auer to a loose ball at the top of the box, then put it away, less than two minutes later.

Said junior Abbey Casady: “It didn’t even hit me until halftime that we were actually down three goals. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that we could’ve came back, but that’s just not how it happened.”

The Hawks didn’t net their final goal until the 56th minute, when Lauren Zach set up Corder for her second score of the night.

Barah said O-East made solid plays to earn the playoff win.

“All and all,” he added, “we think we could’ve done a better job of defending some of the goals.”

Free State at least was able to find more shots in the second half. Eight minutes in, Loneker sent a free kick to Hadyn Hutchison right in front of the goal and misfired to the left. Less than four minutes later, Chelsea Casady fed Maddie Dieker in front of the goal on the left side, and O-East goalkeeper Lindsey Lyman got just enough fingertips on the shot to deny the Firebirds a goal.

Later, in transition, Margaux Gill hit Loneker, who scooted a pass to open teammate Katie Sarraf, but the pass was intercepted.

Twice in the final 20 minutes, Loneker’s powerful right leg was denied on long, booming shots — first by the cross bar, then by Lyman.

With 10 minutes to go, Dieker had a shot swallowed up by the Hawks goalkeeper.

Loneker was somewhat satisfied that her team put up a fight in the season-ending loss.

“We realized this is potentially the end,” she said of what changed in the second half.

Olathe East finished with 16 shots while FSHS had nine.

Barah said the Firebirds shouldn’t forget about their missed chances.

“We’ll just try to learn,” Barah said, “and get better for the next season.”

Comments

Shelley Bock 1 year, 10 months ago

Olathe East defeated Blue Valley West 5-4 to win 6A and maintain their perfect 21-0 record for the season. Aquinas defeated Mill Valley for 5A. Topeka Hayden defeated Trinity from Wichita in 4A-1A.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 10 months ago

Absent transfers, moves or injuries, Free State girls are definitely in the Top 10 for 2013. They will be ranked in the top 3 of the Sunflower League. They have the potential to challenge for the league title next year. They also have the ability to get to State. Things sure have changed from 1998 when the squad went 0-17 with no seniors and one junior.

Congratulations to the Coach Barah and Coach Trahan for the work they've done this year. And, former Coach Pendelton should not be forgotten for developing the pre-high school program that developed 95% of these players. When this year's juniors and sophomores were in the 4th and 5th grades, you could see their potential. Now, they are going to have the ability to demonstrate those gifts on the field.

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SoccerGenius 1 year, 10 months ago

You are correct, one of the best games of the year was when the JV beat OE 2-0. Trahan had them ready to play. They beat OE to almost every ball and really controlled the tempo. There are some great players in waiting on both varsity and JV, natural goal scorers and an outstanding keeper, positions that are often the most difficult and key spots to fill in high school soccer. The next two years look very bright.

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rtwngr 1 year, 10 months ago

Congratulations, FSHS, for a tremendous season!

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 10 months ago

If Olathe East is the "gold standard" by which Free State can be compared, consider the following two thoughts: 1. Olathe East loses 8 of 17 players to graduation; 2. Free State JV defeated Olathe East JV for the OE JV's only loss of the season. That means that while they're good, Free State bested them. And, should have some very capable players added to the varsity.. Additionally, 70% of the scoring is returning, which is quite remarkable.

There's always next year, next season, but there is a future with potential for those still in high school.

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Shelley Bock 1 year, 10 months ago

A disappointing result, but a tremendous year for Free State girls soccer. Olathe East is likely to be in the State finals on Saturday with a good chance of victory. Losing at this level is not an embarrassment because there were only 8 teams in 6A to get that far. It is sad because this is the end of the season, but these players are resilient and positive. Keep your heads up!

Congratulations to the Seniors who have contributed so much over the years.

Congratulations to the underclass players who will be members of an extremely strong squad next year.

Congratulations to Coach Barah and staff for creating an atmosphere where these ladies can bond together as a team to produce such success.

And, congratulation to the LJW for covering the games with a reporter and using Brad Fanchier's photos, which are very, very good.

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