Baldwin girls soccer loses 6-1 to Topeka-Cair Paravel in state quarterfinal

photo by: Addison Crites/Special to the Journal-World

The Baldwin girls soccer team huddles after its loss to Topeka-Cair Paravel on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Topeka.

Topeka — The Baldwin Bulldogs girls soccer team’s campaign for back-to-back state tournament berths fell short Tuesday evening as it suffered a 6-1 road defeat to No. 2 seeded Topeka-Cair Paravel Latin School/Eskridge-Mission Valley at Bettis Family Sports Complex.

Baldwin was unable to stop the Cair Paravel duo of sophomore KellyAnn Chada and junior Zahra Friess, who finished with three goals and two goals and an assist, respectively.

Coach Drew Ising concludes his final season leading the Bulldogs at 12-7.

While it was difficult for Ising to articulate exactly what this season has been like to him, he managed to show his gratitude to the team in just a few words.

“These girls have meant everything to me,” he said. “It’s been great.”

The Bulldogs offense didn’t quite click like it did for its first two East Regional games, where it combined for a total score of 14-0 in the victories.

In fact, Baldwin gave up its first postseason point 13 seconds into the game as Friess grabbed an early 1-0 lead on an assist from senior Katherine Keys.

While Cair Paravel brought an aggressive offensive pressure, it allowed the Bulldogs’ defensive players opportunities to shine in the first half.

Baldwin senior goalkeeper Alyssa Reichard locked down her end of the field after Cair Paravel’s initial score with three saves in the ensuing 25 minutes, including a deflection from a high left corner shot.

It took about seven minutes for Baldwin to make its first scoring attempts as Nora Prather rushed down for a shot but was blocked by the Lions. About a minute and a half later, senior Bailey Smith tried to sneak in her own shot but missed right.

On the other end of the field, the Lions kept attacking until Chada added her own goal off another assist from Keys in the 25th minute for the final point of the half and a 2-0 Cair Paravel advantage.

“It’s obviously not what we planned,” Ising said. “But it was early enough that we should have adjusted to it. Two unlucky things happened and we got punished for it.”

Baldwin managed to keep the ball traveling up and down the field in long rallies but never found a great scoring position to make the Cair Paravel defense uncomfortable until five seconds remained in the half.

Baldwin’s first would-be point of the evening came from a header off a corner kick but was voided due to a foul against the Lions’ goalkeeper, sending Baldwin into halftime down 2-0.

The Lions kept roaring in the second half, completely controlling the match by tacking on four more goals in nine minutes. Chada highlighted the dominant stretch as she netted in the 55th and 64th minutes for her second and third goals of the evening. Friess also demonstrated stellar performance by providing an assist on the first Chada goal before seizing her personal second score in the 59th minute. Junior Shay Meyer got into the action as she assisted a goal by Keys to extend Cair Paravel’s lead to 6-0.

Baldwin managed to avoid a shutout loss as senior Addy Ediger scored an unassisted goal with less than 1:30 left in the game for the final score of a 6-1.

Despite the deficit, Ising said that the no-quit attitude is what made this group special.

“It’s just who these kids are,” he said. “They’re never going to give up on anything. They’re tough, hard working kids.”

Cair Paravel advances to the 4-1A State Tournament for the second time in three years after missing out last season. The Lions await to find out who they will play in the first round May 24-25 in Wichita.


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