Lady Bobcats taken down by Lansing, wet weather
The wind swirled inside the stadium. A light drizzle was broken by sporadic bursts of heavy rain. The sky turned black.
For the Basehor-Linwood girls soccer team, it might well have been an omen.
The Lady Bobcats fell 3-0 to Lansing Tuesday night at home. The game was called with 16 minutes to go in the second half because of lightning.
"I think we weren't going full force," Jessica Smith said. "We were just watching. Maybe we weren't ready to play."
Smith wasn't about to blame the weather for shoddy play, but the Lady 'Cats may have had a case. Heavy winds played a huge factor early in the contest.
Lansing, with gusts at their back, had kicks sail longer and truer in the first half. The Lady 'Cats, kicking into the wind, had trouble getting the ball out of their half of the field.
Goaltender Hanna Bates was under fire for most of the game's first 40 minutes. When she was able to secure the ball, her free kicks were often gobbled by the wind and deposited well in front of midfield.
"That's why we wanted the wind in the first half, so we could take advantage of it," coach Kevin Vincent said. "It never fails: the wind is blowing 90 miles an hour in the first half, and it dies down when you get it."
Indeed the wind became much less noticeable after the halftime intermission. The second half instead featured rain, making the field slick.
"It always plays a role," Vincent said of the wind. "One team has a dominant half, and the other one just has to absorb the punches."
BLHS was unable to do so.
Elizabeth Cristiano opened the games scoring at 32:52 in the first half. Lansing increased their lead to 2-0 when Christine Cordes beat Bates at the 11:35 mark.
The game was temporarily suspended when lightning became visible with 8:28 left in the first half. The teams trudged into BLHS's foyer to await a ruling on the game.
When the conditions improved 15 minutes later, the contest resumed.
Cordes added another goal with 17:52 left in the second half to push the lead to 3-0. The game was called with 15:52 left.
"They are just a skilled team and they work well with each other," Vincent said of Lansing. "They are really fast and physical. Lansing is where we want to take our program. They are the next level. Beating a team like that would really put an exclamation point on any season."
Vincent lamented his team's blown opportunities after the game. The team botched a couple of scoring chances in the first half and Jessica Smith missed a penalty kick in the second half. The attempt sailed over the goalie's outstretched hands but clanged against the top post. It would have made the game a manageable 2-1.
"I messed up," Smith said.
The game was the Lady 'Cats second of four contests this week during an especially cruel stretch of schedule.
"We have a few injuries that we are trying to nurse," Vincent said. "When you keep pounding and pounding them, they don't heal, and become nagging injuries for the rest of the season. When there isn't rest that becomes more of a factor."