TOPEKA — Both De Soto and Spring Hill battled their two state opponents in the girls soccer 4A-1A semifinals at the Hummer Sports Complex, but neither managed to come away with a victory or a goal in the first night of soccer competition.
By RYAN McCARTHY
Special to The Star
In the first game of the evening the top ranked Spring Hill Broncos struggled to find a rhythm and lost to Topeka Hayden 2-0.
“Hayden’s definitely skilled and talented,” Spring Hill coach Susan Putnam said. “I think in the end we didn’t step enough to the 50-50 balls.”
It was difficult for most of the match for the Broncos as they struggled to find a groove on both ends of the field.
What hurt early on was Topeka Hayden’s quick goal to give the Wildcats an early advantage.
Addie Barry crossed a corner kick into the box where defensemen Kirah Lohse knocked it off the back of her head and into the net in the 10th minute.
In the 33rd minute, the Wildcats came back with another strong effort in the net when Madeline Triggs dumped a pass off to Barry, who managed to knock it over Spring Hill’s Abigail Miskell’s head.
Hayden remained in control for a majority of the second half, but Spring Hill managed a few chances of its own including some by midfielder Sydney Cluck.
Cluck made a few chances happen, but the Wildcats goalkeeper, Sarah Pimentel, swatted all of them away to maintain the clean sheet.
“I think they got some good shots off and our defense did the best they could,” Putnam said.
With seven seniors leading the squad Spring Hill, 12-3, knew there was a crucial opportunity to make the state championship game.
Topeka Hayden, 13-4, was a challenge, but it still remains a harsh loss for Spring Hill to swallow.
Still, Putnam and the coaching staff remained please with the team’s effort and look forward to another difficult contest Saturday in the consolation game.
And the Broncos won’t be taking their opponent lightly; they still want to finish off the season the right way.
“We still want to go out and play,” Putnam said. “We want to take the top spot that we can get now.”
On the other side of the bracket, De Soto fought hard to take down the Winfield Vikings.
However, the Vikings came out on top with a 1-0 victory.
The Wildcats face Spring Hill in the consolation game on Saturday.
“They created a lot of chances and made the best of one,” De Soto coach Jesse Smith said. “We created a few chances and couldn’t quite put it away.”
It remained a difficult challenge for De Soto to find the goal early on, but the Wildcats managed a few chances after the halftime break.
Using the south wind to its advantage, Winfield continued to push the ball forward.
However, De Soto’s goalkeeper Taylor Peterson continued to shut down the Vikings whenever they came near the net.
“I think she played the best game of her season,” Smith said. “Some of the saves tonight she wasn’t making during regular season. She brought her ‘A’ game and we definitely needed it.”
In the second half, the Wildcats managed a few more scoring chances including from senior Allison Stanley.
But the Vikings broke the tie when Karrie McNutt maneuvered past the defense and skidded a ball past the defense in the 62nd minute to give her team the decisive 1-0 advantage.
It’s been a grind this season for Desoto, 13-7, but the challenging schedule prepared them for the stretch run it made to get to this position.
“We came in battered and bruised and I thought the girls played absolutely phenomenal and I thought we represented ourselves well,” Smith said.