Late goal dooms Free State soccer, 2-1

For 79 minutes and 59 seconds, Free State High’s girls soccer team led or was tied with Olathe Northwest, but the last second of Thursday’s match doomed the Firebirds.

Olathe Northwest sophomore Savannah Moxley scored with one second left to give the Ravens a 2-1 win over the Firebirds as ONW capitalized on a free kick.

“We have to go back to the tape to see how we didn’t defend properly, but it’s one of the things where the ball can bounce here or there and we could be talking about a different result,” FSHS coach Kelly Barah said.

The Firebirds were on their heals for a majority of the match, despite taking an early lead. ONW outshot FSHS, 25-2, but Free State goalkeeper Mika Schrader was able to save nine of the Ravens’ 11 shots that were on target.

Free State got on the board first with a breakaway goal from sophomore Sabrea Platz in the seventh minute. The forward credited the Firebirds crisp ball movement for setting her up with the goal.

“We had just a string of good passes in the center and Lindsey (Wethington) sent me through,” Platz said. “I got really lucky with the amount of cohesion that we played with. It was really good.”

FSHS was able to hold on to that 1-0 advantage until the Ravens tied it up with 9:09 to play. ONW junior Emily Kemp got an open look at the net and got the ball past the outstretched arm of Schrader.

The Firebirds (3-3) appeared to have still done enough to force overtime, but the multitude of ONW scoring chances caught up with Free State.

“I think we were all just really exhausted,” sophomore Molly Bryant said.

Despite the heart-breaking loss, Platz believes the young FSHS team can learn from Thursday’s setback.

“Here at Free State, we keep our heads up,” Platz said. “Even in the tough times, we know that we are going to be a family together. We just have to move on and practice (today) and Saturday. We’ve just got to move forward and know that we’re going to do better next game.”

While Barah was frustrated by Thursday’s result, he was proud of the sportsmanship the Firebirds showed before, during and after the game. The Ravens have coped this season with the passing of two of their players back in November, and Barah told ONW coach Christopher Graham that the bond between FSHS and ONW meant more than Thursday’s outcome.

“It’s an amazing program over there and it’s a dear friend as well,” said Barah after giving Graham a long hug following the match. “To start a season that rough, it meant a lot for my girls to show them on that side that we really support them and that we love them as well.”

Free State will try to bounce back at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Shawnee Mission Northwest.