It had been a long time since Lee’s Summit West’s last appearance in a girls state soccer tournament. Not since 2006, to be exact.
The Titans are certain next one will come much sooner.
That helped take the sting out of the double disappointment West encountered in last weekend’s Class 4 tournament. After Friday’s hard-fought 2-0 loss to Lee’s Summit North in the semifinals, West had to settle for a tie for third when a late goal by St. Joseph’s Academy forced a 2-2 draw in Saturday’s consolation match at Swope Soccer Village.
Here’s the consolation for West: Of the Titans’ 11 starters, only three were seniors.
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“Honestly, it’s fun,” West midfielder Kassidy Newsom said. “We wanted to win it on our own, but to tie for third place is still an honor and we’re just happy we got to this point.”
Newsom was one of West’s seven junior starters, and she accounted for both of the Titans’ goals against St. Joseph’s Academy. Her first one gave the Titans a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute when she got into the 18-yard box for a one-on-one opportunity and ricocheted in a shot off the left post.
But St. Joseph’s 18-4-2, needed only two minutes to get the first equalizer. A Titans foul gave the Angels a free kick inside the arc outside the box, and Ellen Donlin drilled it into the left corner of the net.
St. Joseph’s took advantage of West’s tiring legs and controlled play most of the second half, but Newsom came close on two counterattacks. In the 74th minute, she put the Titans up again on a header off a corner kick by Carsyn Overin.
But St. Joseph’s got another corner kick with less than a minute to play, and the Angels’ Mallory Stock banged it off the far post and into the net. There’s no overtime in state soccer consolation matches.
“That’s what we talked about at halftime: don’t give them corner kicks,” West coach Shaun Owens said. “And ultimately that’s what did us in.”
Owens had no fault with the Titans’ effort on the warm and muggy morning, especially after having to play so soon after the loss to North.
“I was hopeful our girls would come out and play today and they did,” Owens said. “We knocked the ball around well the first 20 minutes of the game and then we got tired, and when we get tired we play long.”
And it won’t be long, the Titans believe, until they’re back for another try at a state title after finishing this season 16-6-1.
“Obviously, we’re going to miss some seniors, but next year we’ll be back, we’ll be strong and we’ll be ready to go,” Newsom said. “We’re all looking forward to next year.”