Lions take bite out of Jaguars
Shawnee The inaugural game of Kaw Valley League girls soccer had the feel of a prize fight.
The league's expected heavyweights - Lansing High and Mill Valley - squared off in the season-opener Tuesday afternoon at MVHS. After 80 minutes of action LHS emerged with a 3-2 victory and claimed an early advantage in the race to become the first KVL champion.
Just how close was the game? Had it lasted 80:01, it would've gone to overtime.
"I expected it to be decided in the last minute," LHS coach Rob Elkins said. "I didn't expect it to be decided in the last second."
Mill Valley's Katitlen Stacy had the potential game-tying goal waved off when she scored one second after the clock expired.
"We just kind of looked around, stared at each other and thought, 'Oh my gosh,'" LHS junior forward Christine Cordes said of the eerie silence that followed Stacy's goal.
Once the Lions realized the goal had been waved off, some players hugged and others let out sighs of relief.
"We knew coming in that Mill Valley was probably one of our hardest league games," Cordes said. "We knew we definitely needed to get the win if we wanted to keep our league hopes alive."
With the exception of two Mill Valley breakaways, LHS controlled the first half. The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute when Cordes was tackled from behind in the box. That set up a penalty kick, and junior Rachel Pride buried it.
Lansing (1-0 overall, 1-0 KVL) continued to apply pressure on the offensive end for the rest of the half. After narrowly missing on opportunities by Cordes and Pride, the Lions struck again just before halftime. Freshman Allison Dillon sent a corner kick into the box. It bounced once before junior Erin Griffen gathered it and blasted it home from 10 yards out with 2:25 left in the half.
Lansing took a 2-0 lead into halftime, but the advantage didn't last long. Mill Valley's Brianna Childs and Kelly Donaghy tallied goals in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half and tied the game.
LHS regrouped moments later, though, and was in control for the rest of the game. The Lions came close to scoring on numerous occasions in the half, and they finally capitalized when Cordes crossed a pass from the right side toward the goal. Senior Bianca Manago received the pass in stride and one-touched it past the keeper for a 3-2 lead in the 60th minute.
Mill Valley never threatened again until the final seconds, but Lansing hung on just long enough to delay what would've been the game-tying goal.
Lansing next plays at 6 p.m. today at Lansing Middle School against Blue Valley West, the 2005 state champion and 2006 state runner-up.