Top-ranked Aquinas awaits LHS soccer
When Lansing High girls soccer coach Rob Elkins loaded up his squad's schedule with tougher competition this season, he did it with the knowledge that LHS had a good chance of meeting St. Thomas Aquinas during regional action.
Elkins had his team play Class 6A powerhouse Olathe Northwest, 2004 state champion Shawnee Heights and East Kansas League juggernauts Blue Valley West and Blue Valley for that very reason. Lansing didn't beat any of those teams, but it played Heights close and battled Blue Valley to a scoreless tie.
Now, after two months of preparation, Lansing will get its chance to play Aquinas. The squads will meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Aquinas in the Northeast Region I championship game. LHS advanced by beating De Soto 3-1 on Tuesday. Aquinas beat Immaculata 10-0.
Lansing brings a 9-6-2 record to the match. Aquinas is 14-2-1 and ranked 11th in one national poll.
"Those games we added to our schedule were preparation for this moment, for this matchup," Elkins said. "We knew we had a one in three chance of drawing them at the beginning of the season, and we got 'em.
"Wouldn't that make quite a newspaper story when we take 'em," Elkins said matter-of-factly. "We have the ability to do that."
Elkins was encouraged by his team's strong defensive efforts against Olathe Northwest and Blue Valley. He also was encouraged by the way Lansing's offense stepped up during the second half against Blue Valley West.
What gives Elkins the most confidence, heading into Friday's game with Aquinas is the fact that LHS played a strong game against De Soto.
"We played well from beginning to end," he said.