St. Thomas Aquinas scored three goals in the first 8 minutes, 5 seconds Tuesday night and went on to beat Blue Valley Southwest 4-2 in a Kansas Class 5A state quarterfinal match at Aquinas.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The Saints will take a 16-2-1 record to the state semifinals Friday at McPherson. This will be their 10th consecutive trip to the state tournament final four, and they will be looking for their fourth straight state championship.
“We had great energy that the team put out at the start,” sophomore center-midfielder Olivia Meyers said. “We try to score in the first five minutes to get us going.”
Junior Kelly Sweeney, who was a starter on the Class 5A state championship basketball team, said, “We were so pumped. We knew if we didn’t come out and play our hardest, they would win.”
Senior Hannah Pyle said, “We knew we had to get them early. The first five minutes are so important.”
Pyle had the first goal just 23 seconds into the match.
Sweeney had assists on the next two goals.
Her first centering pass came from the right side and found the foot of Meyers with 32:53 left in the first half. The second came from the left side almost two minutes later with sophomore striker Jamie Kutey getting the goal.
The Timberwolves cut the margin to 3-1 on a goal by junior Nicolette Lynch off a pass from sophomore Charlotte Davis with 5:44 left in the first half.
But Aquinas scored just before halftime when Meyers fed a pass to Kutey. She dribbled about 30 yards for a one-on-one with the keeper for the goal with just 98 seconds left.
The second half was scoreless until BV Southwest senior Emily Eldridge found the back of the net on a long free kick with 3:23 remaining in the match.
Aquinas has a lot of state tournament experience with 10 seniors although two are out with injuries.
Veteran coach Craig Ewing says this is the best goal scoring team that he has had.
“We are blessed with a lot of goal scorers,” he said. “We have a great attack.”
Meyers now has 22 goals, Pyle, 17, and Sweeney nine for the season.