LHS falls to No. 1 Aquinas in regional championship
The Lansing High girls soccer team played arguably its best game of the season May 16 when it earned a 3-1 victory over De Soto in the first round of the Class 5-1A regional playoffs.
Lansing's reward: a date with St. Thomas Aquinas, the top-ranked team in Kansas and the No. 11-ranked team in the nation.
The Saints (15-2-1) lived up to their reputation as they defeated the Lions 10-0 Friday night at STA in the regional finals.
Aquinas opened the scoring five minutes into the game when Taylor Blue was on the receiving end of a nice pass and beat LHS goalkeeper Katie Nietzke one-on-one.
The Lions (9-7-2) toughened up for the next 30 minutes. They struggled to generate any offense, but defenders Abby Hauver, Elizabeth Cristiano and Michaela Bristow helped Nietzke prevent the Saints from scoring another goal.
The defense eventually wore down, and when it did, Aquinas pounced. Angela Dobbie scored twice in the final four minutes of the half to give STA a 3-0 lead.
Aquinas scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The score remained 5-0 until the 56th minute. Then the Saints delivered the knockout punch. They netted three goals in 57 seconds to put the lead at 8-0. They sealed the mercy rule victory with 3:58 left on the clock.
Aquinas put 23 shots on goal to Lansing's four. Nietzke finished with 13 saves.
Lansing ended its season in unfamiliar territory as it was unable to reach the double-digit victory plateau. That primarily was because LHS played a one of the more challenging schedules in the region this season.
The Lions will return plenty of experienced talent next season. They lose just three seniors and will return almost all of their offense.
Leading scorers Christine Cordes (six goals), Rachel Pride (five goals, six assists), Abby Livingston-Shelburne (five goals), Erin Griffen (four goals, three assists), Bianca Manago (three goals, six assists) and Lauren Elkins (two goals, two assists) all will be back. So will sophomore goalkeeper Katie Nietzke who logged seven shutouts this year.