Soccer improves to 4-0
Lions log third straight shutout in 3-0 win
De Soto The Lansing High girls' soccer team gave its best performance of the season Thursday evening during its 3-0 shutout of De Soto.
The Lions again dominated offensively thanks to their aggressive midfield play and solid ball control. They peppered the De Soto goal with shots at almost a machine gun clip. The most encouraging thing, however, was the fact that their defense was tested more than it had been all season and it stood up to the challenge.
In all, LHS coach Rob Elkins said he couldn't be prouder with his team.
"It was a really good game," Elkins said. "Our girls played the best they've played. We can play a little bit better, but this is a very satisfying win because everybody was playing to their potential and playing together."
Lansing (4-0) dictated the flow of the game from the opening kick. The Lions' midfield served as a largely impenetrable wall and the LHS forwards were able to fire shot after shot at the De Soto goal.
The same problem that plagued Lansing's forwards during its first three games struck again, though, as they struggled to finish shots from close range. Jessica Hauver, Rachel Pride, Bianca Manago and Kendra Sickinger each had multiple chances to score but were unable to convert.
After more than a dozen golden scoring opportunities, LHS finally got on the board 3:11 before halftime. Manago burned the De Soto defense down the left sideline, dribbled to the end line and crossed a perfect pass to Sickinger who one-touched it into the far corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Lions turned up the intensity another notch in the second half as midfielders Kristen Huffman and Monique Richardson joined the forwards on the offensive attack. The Lions continued to struggle to finish shots, but they never hung their heads. Instead, they kept firing and eventually broke through again. Sickinger's free kick in the 57th minute drilled the crossbar and fell right into the chest of Pride who was crashing the box. De Soto goalie Megan Bedford never had a chance as LHS jumped ahead 2-0.
The Wildcats (2-3) didn't go quietly, though. Just six minutes later they had a breakaway and Lansing was whistled for a foul just outside the box. De Soto set up for an indirect kick. Freshman goalkeeper Katie Nietzke was forced to face her first true test as a high school keeper and she read the play perfectly. She directed her wall of defenders, read the shot and made a diving save to preserve the lead.
That play was pivotal because De Soto never posted a serious threat the rest of the way. Lansing wasn't going to take any chances, however. It maintained its intensity on the offensive end and freshman Lauren Elkins scored with 5:04 remaining to push the lead to 3-0.
Lansing next plays at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home against traditional power Kansas City Christian. KCC has become a traditional soccer power and it knocked off Lansing 2-0 last year. KCC is 2-1-1 this season after beating Piper, 1-0, on Tuesday and knocking off Basehor-Linwood, 5-0, on Thursday. Rob Elkins said it should be the Lions' toughest match so far but added that he thought the De Soto game was a good tune-up for it.
"Your defense needs to be tested, they need to be stressed, so what we practice in practice gets an opportunity to be applied on the field," he said.
Check out lansingcurrent.com Friday afternoon to see a photo gallery from the Thursday victory.