There will be a new Kansas Class 6A girls soccer state champion.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Blue Valley Northwest senior Emily Herndon made sure of that when she booted in her second goal of the game with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining Tuesday in the state quarterfinals at the College Boulevard Activity Center, sending Olathe East down to defeat 4-3.
Herndon’s game-winner capped a wild affair that featured six goals in the first 42 minutes, but only one — the decisive one — in the final 38 minutes.
“It was super intense — probably the most intense matchup we’ve had all season,” Herndon said. “We were just busting our butts to every ball.”
The winning goal was a case of right place, right time.
Olathe East’s defense struggled to clear a ball pinging dangerously around the box before it popped free to Herndon 18 yards from goal.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Just keep it low and don’t kick it over,’” Herndon said. “I got my knee over the ball and just nailed it.”
For a team with only three seniors, it was fitting that she delivered the dagger as BV Northwest, 13-5-1, advanced to the Class 6A semifinals Friday at Wichita Heights.
“Emily has been the silent leader for three years on our team, but this year she has taken complete control,” Huskies coach Rick Pribyl said. “She’s probably scored three or four game-winners for us now.”
Olathe East, 14-3-1, got on the board first off a set piece deep in BV Northwest territory in the 22nd minute.
Hawks senior Brooke Douglas lofted a cross to the back post, where Huskies senior goalkeeper Samantha Nicolay rushed off her line, but Olathe East junior midfielder Hannah Lukinac got to the ball first and nodded a header back in front of goal.
Junior midfielder Alex Yockey finished the sequence with a tap-in goal.
The Huskies’ response was immediate as junior midfielder Kara Priest chipped in a 27th-minute equalizer and sophomore midfielder Cece Kizer carved her way through the Hawks’ defense for the go-ahead goal five minutes later.
There were more goals to come before halftime, though, as the Lukinac-to-Yockey connection continued to pay off.
With Nicolay off her line again, Lukinac rolled a shot toward the far post that Yockey intercepted for an authoritative equalizer.
Three minutes before halftime, Herndon’s first goal — a diving header off service from midfielder Kala Brundige — put BV Northwest ahead 3-2.
It took less than two minutes into the second half before Yockey completed a hat trick with a gutsy right-footed shot around an on-rushing Nicolay off another feed from Lukinac, but Herndon and the Huskies wouldn’t be denied in the end.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.