It’s not common to feel like your back is against the wall when holding a two-goal lead in soccer.
But if that’s the feeling that crept through the back of the minds of Bishop Miege throughout the second half of a Kansas Class 4-1A girls’ soccer semifinal at Friends University on Friday evening.
Maize South was the reason for that feeling, and although the Mavericks charged back to force overtime, it was the Stags that netted the golden goal to move on to Saturday’s 2 p.m. final against Thomas More Prep with a 3-2 victory.
“When you have a team full of seniors like that, they’re going to have a no-quit attitude,” Miege coach Nate Huppe said of Maize South. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get one ball cleared, and they scored with 37 seconds left.”
Never miss a local story.
Despite all that second-half pressure, Miege (12-7-1) still held a 2-1 lead as it made it inside a minute to go. Maize South (17-2-1) was pushing the action, but it appeared they wouldn’t be able to crack the final line of defense of the defending state champs.
With one final push though, the Mavericks brought the ball up the field and pushed it inside the box, where junior Madison Edwards was waiting to nudge off a defender and slide a ball past a diving keeper with 37 ticks left.
The Stags, who have been to overtime in each of their four straight semifinal games, had an answer though. Two minutes into extra time, Sophia Stram jetted down the left flank, cut in toward the box and forced a short cross through the Maize South keeper and to a waiting Elizabeth MacDonald, who poked the ball high into the net with 8:05 showing on the clock.
“I’m very proud of our team,” Maize South coach Marlon Rios said. “We played very differently in the second half. We were more aggressive and that’s how we were able to come back and tie it.
“Unfortunately, it ended up with Bishop Miege winning the game, but they’re a hard-working team, and sometimes in soccer, that’s the way it is.”
Bishop Miege 3, Maize South 2
Halftime: Bishop Miege 2-0. Bishop Miege: Mannebach (Lopez), Narvaez (unassisted), MacDonald (Stram). Maize South: Cooper (unassisted), Edwards (unassisted). Shots: Bishop Miege 3-2-1—6, Maize South 2-3-0—5. Saves: Bishop Miege, Murphy 2-1-0—3; Maize South, Wilks 1-2-0—3.
Louisburg falls short
It can be frustrating when numerous chances fail to produce a relative number of scores.
But at this point in the season, one’s all you need, and Thomas More Prep got the goal it needed early in the first half, beating Louisburg 1-0.
The Monarchs (14-4-1) won after Kayla Vitztum won a 50-50 ball and put a shot home five minutes after halftime. The Wildcats (13-6-1) face Maize South at noon Saturday for third place.
“I just told them they can’t dwell on this one,” said Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said of his team, which reached the state semifinals in just its second year as a program.
“Tomorrow’s going to get here really quick, and we have to play a really tough Maize South team. We played our guts out tonight, so I can’t be more proud of them.”
Thomas More Prep managed only four shots on goal, but had the ball in their offensive end for the majority of the contest. Louisburg got its lone shot on goal on a dangerous chance from Bailey Belcher with four minutes to play, but solid hands from the keeper helped maintain the clean sheet.
Thomas More Prep 1, Louisburg 0
Halftime: 0-0. Thomas More Prep: Vitztum.