LHS girls roll to 2-0 in NEKSL with win at Ottawa
The Lansing High girls soccer team's road trip to Ottawa on Tuesday resulted in a 4-1 victory, but the Lions viewed it more as a glorified practice.
LHS (2-0 overall, 2-0 Northeast Kansas Soccer League) won its season-opener last week against Mill Valley in a game coach Rob Elkins described as "a slugfest," so there weren't many opportunities to focus on strategy.
Bolstered by a 3-0 halftime lead Tuesday, Elkins jumped at the chance to have his players focus on the fundamentals.
"(On Friday and Monday) we worked on our team tactics," Elkins said. "Today was a game of application, and they did it well."
Specifically, Elkins had his players work on ball control and maintaining possession. There was less emphasis on playing long balls.
"It will help us get ready from the aspect of teamwork and putting together combinations of plays," Elkins said.
Lansing scored its first three goals on corner kicks. The first came just 1 minute, 18 seconds into the game when sophomore Erin Griffen lofted a corner kick over the Ottawa defense. Junior Kristen Huffman was on the receiving end of Griffen's kick as she crashed the far post and buried a wide-open look for a 1-0 lead.
LHS upped its lead to 2-0 in the 21st minute when sophomore Rachel Pride redirected a corner kick to junior Abby Livingston-Shelburne who scored easily. On an identical play 11 minutes later, Pride redirected another corner kick, this time to Griffen, for a goal.
Ottawa scored early in the second half when it capitalized on a loose ball and scored on a breakaway, but Lansing answered with a goal in the 68th minute to push its lead to 4-1. The final goal came on a breakaway as Pride collected her third assist of the night when she fed junior Bianca Manago for a goal.
"They were going down the field, and Rachel Pride had all the defense concentrating on her," Elkins said. "Bianca was making a parallel run, and she signaled (Pride). Rachel popped it and Bianca had to tap around one defender. It was a nice left-footed shot."
Elkins said the victory could have been more lopsided, but the Lions missed numerous open looks.
"A couple of better passes here and there and we would've blown the game wide open," he said.
Lansing returns to action at 4:30 p.m. today at Lansing Middle School when it plays host to De Soto. The Lions won both meetings last year against the Wildcats.