Bobcats snap losing skid with shutout of Ottawa
The Basehor-Linwood girls soccer team had reached a crossroads. After a pair of difficult losses, the team traveled to Ottawa on Thursday looking to regain their footing.
The Lady Bobcats righted themselves by delivering a 4-0 thumping to the Lady Cyclones.
"Anytime you lose two in a row, the moral gets low, and people start questioning what they are doing and asking what if," coach Kevin Vincent said. "I think this puts us in a position to get back on track."
The game began in a standstill. The scoreboard remained blank until Audrey Brock put BLHS up 1-0 nearly 30 minutes in. Emily McAfoos added another goal shortly before intermission to give the Lady 'Cats a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
"We were battling back and forth," Vincent said. "We had equal chances to score. I believed if we could get one, we would get back in our rhythm. We have a tendency to get tight when we are trying too hard."
The team was able to break out of its funk after the first goal.
"We came out a little flat in the beginning," Vincent said, "but we were able to find our rhythm and play how we are capable of playing."
Jessica Smith and Shanna Couch both scored in the second half to put the game out of reach. Smith is averaging nearly two goals a game.
Goalkeeper Hanna Bates added another shutout, getting help from a stingy defense.
"Our defense really did well. Ottawa had several good chances, but our defense held tight," Vincent said. "Hanna did a great job. She made a few key saves. She was very solid."
Vincent said that Shae Sawalich, the team's senior sweeper, was a key reason for the stout defensive performance.
"I don't think she gets enough credit for what she does. She has a great blend of athleticism and intelligence," Vincent said. "She will never quit. She was a big reason for the shutout. There were several times where she chased players down from behind and got the ball."
The coach is just happy that his team picked up its play at a time when it was necessary, particularly with the postseason nearing.
"I thought the team did a great job of banding together," Vincent said.
The Lady 'Cats are entering a stretch in their schedule when they could put together a string of wins.
"We have a bunch of home games in a row, now," Vincent said. "The team thought (the losses) were a temporary speed block. We are ready to contend with the teams that are upcoming. We are a team that plays our best soccer when we are having fun."