Alex Ewy received a gift from Lawrence High girls soccer coach Justin Young shortly before she took the field for Senior Night.
Young gave Ewy a white No. 39 field uniform to wear in place of her usual No. 1 maroon goalkeeper jersey.
Ewy’s return gift to Young, with the help of her teammates, was a 3-0 victory against Topeka High on Wednesday at LHS.
“I have a new-found respect for what they do, like Addison (Campbell) and Skylar (Drum) and everyone’s ability just to run up and down,” Ewy said. “I needed a little while to rest after that. It was just really exciting just to be able to play in the field and make me have a better understanding of what the field players do, and also give Elsa (Regan) a chance to start.”
Campbell helped relieve any pressure that Regan might have felt by scoring on a break-away opportunity in the third minute.
“(Campbell) is aggressive up top, and she is one of those forces that we have with her speed and the way she controls the ball,” Young said.
It appeared that the Lions’ lead might be short-lived, however, as a handball in the box gave the Trojans a penalty kick in the seventh minute, but Maria Munoz’ shot sailed high over the crossbar.
Regan turned away every other Topeka High scoring opportunity before handing the reins back to Ewy with a 1-0 halftime lead. It didn’t take long for Ewy to make an immediate impact back in goal.
The Trojans had possession deep in the LHS half before Ewy punched out a shot on goal that led to a counterattack by the Lions. Campbell led the charge down-field and fired a shot that Topeka goalkeeper Claire Cox was unable to handle cleanly. Drum was there to punch it in and give the Lions a 2-0 advantage.
“Alex did a great job defending that,” Campbell said. “We just did a good job of clearing the ball, and it was open space, and I took it. We left it open for something to happen.”
Ewy felt that the goal described what the team has been focusing on throughout the season: to control the ball at each stage of the field.
“It starts from the back,” Ewy said. “If our defense has holes in it, then we can’t get our offense up to the ball. I went out and just knocked it out as far as possible. We got lucky that Addie happened to be up there and hit a great ball across. Skylar got on the end of it.”
The Lions wrapped up the shutout a few minutes later when defender Kennedi Wright-Conklin scored for the second time of the season, connecting on a corner kick from Keeli Billings.
LHS concluded its regular season with a record of 6-10, and Young is optimistic his team can build off its two-game winning streak heading into regionals.
“We showed that we could compose ourselves and play with pace and do well,” Young said. “It’s good to see the girls buy into that and make that decision to do that.”
Young said he thinks LHS will play Shawnee Mission East to kick off regionals, but he will not know for sure until Saturday.