Lawrence High’s girls soccer players knew Saturday afternoon they couldn’t afford to let Blue Valley West build momentum by rattling off goals in bunches.
Though the Lions’ defense held strong when the Jaguars struck first, the almost-constant shots the visitors put on the LHS goal led to a 7-0 Blue Valley West victory.
The Jaguars (2-1) controlled possession the vast majority of the game and came out with an assertive approach on offense, putting eight shots on goal in the first 10 minutes alone. Reece Christopherson put BVW up for good in the third minute with the first of her team’s six first-half goals.
The Lions (0-4) and goalkeeper Alex Ewy (18 saves) kept the deficit at one for more than 15 minutes, but after Rachel Catrell scored to make it 2-0 in the 19th minute, the margin quickly became 3-0 in the 21st minute on the Jaguars’ next shot on goal, a Kelcy Fiser score.
LHS captain Ella Magerl said Blue Valley West began capitalizing on its momentum midway through the first half.
“After the first goal, we kind of kept our heads up and thought, ‘We’re gonna keep getting at this.’ But then on the others, we kind of let it get to us a little bit,” Magerl said. “That gave them opportunities when we were caught off guard.”
While Lawrence couldn’t even get a shot off in the first 40 minutes, the Jaguars took 21. Playing into the wind in the first half, captain Mallory Thompson said the Lions failed to make anything happen when they did take control of the ball.
“Whenever we got offensive opportunities, we would get really flustered and panicky,” Thompson said, “just because we hadn’t been over on the offensive half (of the field) very often.”
Though Lawrence defenders such as Kayla Duncan, Whitney Simons, Tessa Lieber and Danielle Campbell disrupted BVW passing lanes and took away shooting angles when they could, the Jaguars closed the half with another flurry. They scored on three consecutive shots by Jamie Yearout, Christopherson and Caroline Kennedy in the 36th, 38th and 40th minute to put Lawrence in a 6-0 halftime hole.
As the lead increased, first-year Lions coach Justin Young could tell his players’ frustration mounted, too.
“We still have the mentality of past years,” Young said.
Still, the coach liked what he saw in the second half. Magerl finally gave the Lions a shot on goal in the 41st minute (they finished with three shot attempts). The LHS defense only allowed 13 more BVW shots and one more score, a perfect strike from Fiser in the 60th minute.
“Everybody just got fed up with the score and letting them walk all over us,” Thompson said of halftime discussions. “We decided as a team to come together.”
Young, too, said the biggest positive he took away was the way LHS battled Class 6A’s 2012 state runner-up in the final 40 minutes.
“As we go forward,” he said, “we’ve just proven that we can play with a really good team.”
LHS will host Baldwin at 6 p.m. Monday.