Lady ‘Cats stretch win streak to 3
The girls on the Basehor-Linwood soccer team might not want to look back on their April 13 game against Maranatha, but it probably represents a turning point in their season.
Since that heartbreaking 5-4 overtime loss the Lady 'Cats have gone 3-1, including a three-game winning streak that has brought them back to .500 at 5-5-1.
Much of the motivation for the turnaround can be found in that loss to Maranatha, when BLHS surrendered a 4-1 lead.
"Morale was kind of low after that," BLHS coach Kevin Vincent said. "I think we all lost track of why we were out there, including me. We had to remember that we're here to have a good time and if we do that the wins will come."
The wins have started coming and the team sure looks like it's having fun.
Since suffering a 2-0 loss to Lansing last Wednesday the Lady Bobcats have beaten Washington, Piper and Gardner-Edgerton, all in vastly different games.
They pounded Washington 10-0, came back to win at Piper 4-3 in double overtime and beat Gardner-Edgerton 4-1 by taking an early lead and gradually increasing it.
The Piper game was about as exciting as it gets.
The Bobcats trailed 1-0 at halftime before a scoring explosion in the second half. Brittney Ewan continued her strong offensive season, getting the first goal for BLHS shortly after halftime. The junior got under a cross from Jessica Smith and finished with a brilliant header.
"Brittney started the scoring and then Jessica went to town," Vincent said.
Indeed, Smith showed the scoring form that earned her all-Kaw Valley League honors last year. The sophomore buried the ball in the back of the net three times in the second half, including the game-winner just a few minutes into the second overtime. She got the ball just outside the box at the top of the circle and deftly fired it into the lower-right corner.
The victory over Piper proved that BLHS could take down a quality opponent and was a major confidence-boost for the Lady 'Cats.
"We were pumped because we knew we got off to a bad start and were able to turn it around," Ewan said.
Ewan and the Bobcats took that energy into Tuesday's game against Gardner-Edgerton and put a goal on the board early.
Lindsey Kramer scored her second goal of the season on an assist from Smith in the game's seventh minute. Kramer's goal was the only scoring of the first half.
BLHS took a 1-0 lead into halftime partly because of outstanding play from Shanna Couch, who controlled the midfield with her deft ball skills and passing. The Gardner players were forced to trip and push her to the ground time and again because it was the only way they could stop her.
Couch's active play nearly translated into a goal early in the second half. She was pushed down just outside the box and earned a free kick, which she took herself. Couch fired a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar, creating a difficult rebound for the keeper. As the Gardner goalie tried to control it, Audrey Brock poked it in for BLHS, but the goal was disallowed after the officials conferred and ruled that Brock had interfered with the keeper.
Still, the Bobcats got their insurance goal a few minutes later. Ewan swiped the ball in the box, eluded a defender with a move to her right, and then beat the keeper to the right side.
The goal came in the 52nd minute and gave BLHS a 2-0 lead.
BLHS goalkeeper Kori Roberts saw her chance for a clean sheet vanish seven minutes later when Gardner-Edgerton scored from close range.
It was the only blemish for Roberts, who made seven saves and got good defensive support from sweeper Shae Sawalich.
Ewan restored the Bobcats' two-goal lead in the 63rd minute with her second strike.
The junior took a free kick from the left side of the box and bent it over the keeper's head from 25 yards out. It was a surprising goal from an angle that was better suited to a crossing pass.
"That's what I intended to do, but it just went in instead," Ewan said. "I've done that before one other time this year."
Smith finished the scoring five minutes after Ewan's long-range strike. Kelsey Stephens won the ball in the air with a brave header that fell at the sophomore's feet. Smith controlled it and took it into the left side of the box, where she bent a shot over the keeper and into the upper-right hand corner.
With the victory over Gardner-Edgerton fresh in their minds, the Lady Bobcats will now try to climb above .500 on Thursday, April 27, when they travel to Immaculata to take on the Lady Raiders.
Game time is set for 4 p.m.