Lady ‘Cats tripped up by Lady Jaguars
Jessica Smith tried everything she could to score a goal in the second half Monday against Mill Valley.
She tried to dribble through the Mill Valley defense. She tried to chase balls over the top. She kicked with her right foot. Then she'd tried the left.
But MVHS goalie Becky Newhouse was able to do what most opponents have struggled to do all season. Newhouse stopped Smith from scoring and was the difference in Mill Valley's 4-1 victory.
"She's the spark of our team," BLHS coach Kevin Vincent said of Smith. "We feel like when she is on the field, we're never out of the game because she's always a scoring threat and she kind of exhibited that today.
"The shots didn't necessarily go in, but she gave us that boost with a couple opportunities where we didn't feel like we were completely out of the game."
Other than a one-minute stretch at the beginning of the second half when the Jaguars scored two goals, the Bobcats seemed to be the Jags' match.
Basehor-Linwood even outplayed Mill Valley in the first half.
The Bobcats took the lead 8:21 into the game when Lindsey Kraemer scored on a cross that sailed over Newhouse's reach and into the goal.
The Jags countered just over a minute later to tie the game, but it was the Bobcats that controlled the first half.
The two teams entered the game with the same record, 7-4-1. But Mill Valley has been a Kaw Valley League power the past several years and played a tougher schedule this year with two losses against 6A teams from the Sunflower League.
"We have a tendency to usually play to the level of our opponents -- or at least attempt to play to the level of our opponents -- and I think we did that today," Vincent said. "We realized Mill Valley is a very good team and it was going to take a real team effort to play with them."
The Jaguars showed their strength with their quick two goals to start the second half and other than Smith, the Bobcats had few opportunities on their end after halftime.
Smith did have two shots that would usually find the back of the net and would have tied the game.
Newhouse made a full-extension diving save of a shot to the far post and also forced Smith to shoot wide when the forward had Newhouse one-on-one.
"When they got the goal, I think that made us question ourselves," Vincent said. "Despite two goals in a short period of time, we came out and still played a tough game. A few mental breakdowns showed. That's the difference between a great team and where we want to be, to capitalize on the opportunities when they arrive."
With the loss, the Bobcats drop to 7-5-1 on the season and 2-2-1 in the league.