LHS soccer falls at Olathe Northwest
JV drops another heartbreaker
Olathe The Lansing High girls' soccer team could have been plenty discouraged Monday night at the College Boulevard Activities Center.
The Lions could have been discouraged by the steady rain and bone-chilling wind that pelted them almost constantly throughout the game. They could have been discouraged by their early two-goal deficit or by the eventual 3-0 final score in their loss to Olathe Northwest.
If only that were their style.
Instead of calling Monday night's game discouraging or frustrating, the Lions opted for a different phrase with which to describe the loss - learning experience. And why shouldn't they? After all, Northwest, a Class 6A school, is exactly the type of team LHS needs to play to prepare it for regionals.
"Our ultimate goal is to make it to the state tournament," LHS coach Rob Elkins said, "and you're not going to make it to the state tournament if you don't play teams like this, because you're going to play teams like this trying to get to the state tournament."
A steady rain soaked both squads from well before the opening whistle, but the elements did little to throw the Ravens off their game. Northwest sophomore midfielder Jillian Murphy blazed up the right side of the field, cut back and fired a high bending ball toward the far post that skipped off LHS goalkeeper Katie Nietzke's fingertips and into the back of the net just 4:45 into the game.
The Ravens struck again 69 seconds later when Michelle Crane lofted a well-placed ball from the left side that nose-dived just under the crossbar at the back post for a 2-0 lead.
Murphy tacked on her second goal of the game in identical fashion to her first when she struck another perfect ball and put the Ravens ahead 3-0 in the 37th minute.
Facing a large deficit before halftime - one that could have been worse if not for a backsave by sophomore defender Abby Hauver - the Lions never folded. In fact, they seemed to play with more intensity and aggression in the second half.
"When you're playing a 6A school from Olathe and the track record that those schools have, you've got to make sure it doesn't intimidate your players," Elkins said. "They weren't intimidated in the second half. The difference between the first half and second half was they were a little faster than us in the first half. Once we started matching their speed we matched up. We don't play schools like this very often. That's why we added them to our schedule."
The difference in Lansing's intensity between halves wasn't only noticed by the coach. Sophomore Bianca Manago noticed it too and said the Lions took great strides with their resiliency in the final 40 minutes.
"We were all hustling," she said. "I was so proud of the team. The second half was amazing for us. If both of the halves could have been the same caliber as our second half was it would have been awesome."
The Lions (6-2) will have a chance to return to their winning ways quickly. They play host to Maranatha Academy at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lansing Middle School field.
Olathe Northwest 1, Lansing JV 0
The junior varsity Lions dropped their second straight game in dramatic fashion, 1-0, on Monday afternoon against Olathe Northwest at the College Boulevard Activities Center.
The Lions dropped a 1-0 decision last Wednesday at Basehor-Linwood when the Bobcats scored on a penalty kick in the final minute. Monday against Northwest it came down to another late goal. The Ravens scored with 3:32 remaining.
Northwest dominated the contest and kept the ball deep in Lansing territory for most of the game. Still, tough defense from the Lions' Courtney Hall, Stephanie Keeler and Sydney helped fend off numerous Northwest runs. The Ravens continued to attack in the second half, however. They hit the post three times and had numerous other scoring opportunities, but each time LHS goalkeeper Mary Lyon was there to snuff out a shot.
With less than four minutes remaining, though, Northwest broke through for the game-winner.
Monday's game marked sophomore Kayla Pina's return to the field from a bizarre cat-bite injury that forced her to miss the first half of the season. Pina played almost the entire game and brought considerable energy to the field. She later played significant minutes in the varsity contest.
For photo galleries from the varsity and JV games, check out lansingcurrent.com on Tuesday afternoon.
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