Lions hammer De Soto, head to regional playoffs
Richardson, Hauver, Pina, Sickinger tally goals in shutout win
The Lansing High girls' soccer team wasn't too worried about its Monday matchup with an injury-plagued De Soto squad - definitely not after the Lions had just played defending state champion Shawnee Heights.
The T-Birds whipped LHS 7-2 on Friday, and De Soto surely didn't compare to Heights in many ways. The Wildcats weren't as quick, skilled or efficient with their opportunities as Heights was.
Lansing on the other hand...
The Lions (13-3) made the most of their chances and sprinted past De Soto, 4-0, at the Lansing Middle School soccer field. It was a lopsided score considering the Wildcats were ranked No. 9 in Class 5-1A and the Lions were ranked No. 10. Also, LHS shut out De Soto 3-0 on April 7.
"We actually have come a long way from that game," senior midfielder Monique Richardson said of the Lions' improvement since the squads' first meeting.
LHS dominated from the opening minutes and didn't waste much time taking a lead. Richardson scored in the 20th minute on a third-chance opportunity during a scramble in the box. It was her third goal in four days after scoring both of Lansing's goals against Heights.
A steady substitution pattern allowed LHS to have fresh legs on the field at all times despite the fact that 84-degree temperatures created the hottest temperatures of the season.
"I took advantage of the heat today and played everybody," LHS coach Rob Elkins said. "We were subbing a lot in the first half and they weren't, and they wore down."
The 1-0 margin stood through halftime. Then the Lions really turned up the heat. They made shorter, quicker passes and peppered the De Soto goal with shots. Jessica Hauver, Bianca Manago, Kendra Sickinger, Rachel Pride and Abby Livingston fired shot after shot. Then, in the 54th minute Manago chipped a shot toward the near post where Hauver was standing. Hauver jumped and used a header to redirect the ball just inside the post for a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore Kayla Pina pushed the lead to 3-0 less than four minutes later when her high arching blast from 35 yards out dipped just under the crossbar. A goal by Sickinger three minutes later was the last of the damage.
De Soto had a chance to break up the shutout with 2:30 remaining but freshman goalkeeper Katie Nietzke snuffed out a penalty kick to preserve her 10th shutout of the season.
The Lions next will play next Tuesday in the regional playoffs. The brackets will be set Saturday morning. Elkins said he's excited for the playoffs to arrive, especially with the Lions coming off their first-ever postseason victory last year."
"After they got their first win in the playoffs they broke a barrier," Elkins said. "This year we have a new barrier to break."
For more on Lansing High soccer, pick up the May 12 edition of The Current.