Despite scoring their first goal well into the first half, the defending state champions Blue Valley Northwest never waivered from its game plan in Friday’s Kansas Class 6A state soccer semifinals.
The Huskies moved up the field slowly at times, but efficiently picking their spots to attack the Washburn Rural defense.
And they did enough to frustrate the Blues, which led to BV Northwest’s 3-0 victory at Hummer Sports Park.
“It’s probably the best defensive team we’ve ever had,” Blue Valley Northwest coach Rick Pribyl said. “The three defenders we have not only defend, but they attack all the time. They know where each person is on the field and the see the ball really well.”
With both teams being meticulous and careful with their attempts early on, no one got a solid shot on goal until the Huskies’ Kara Priest hit a shot about 3 yards from the goalie in the 34rd minute.
But the Huskies finally got on the board from a great turn by junior Cece Kizer. After faking her defender, she beat the keeper with a toe poke making it 1-0 in the 35th minute.
Two minutes later, Kizer tacked on another goal on a penalty kick after a yellow card was shown to the Blues.
“It boosted our confidence definitely because we were getting down,” Kizer said. “We had so many opportunities down there and it was frustrating for us. So once we scored I think we felt like ‘we got this now.’”
The Huskies did not waste much time in the second half when Priest weaved herself through before finally knocking the ball in the net in the 45th minute.
The rest of the second half the Huskies continued to wear down the Blues with constant pressure on the defensive and offensive sides of the field.
But the defense proved to be the difference for BV Northwest.
“Years ago we used to adapt to other teams, but now we decide to let other teams adapt to us,” Pribyl said.
Now with a similar mind-set, the Huskies hope to repeat as state champions Saturday against Maize at 2 p.m.
After an impressive regional victory earlier in the week, Shawnee Mission West could not keep it going, and lost 4-2 to No. 1 seed Maize.
With a hat trick by Katie McClure, the Vikings struggled to keep people her out of the scoring area.
“We tried to cut off the angle and they just finding her,” SM West coach Sarah Gonzalez said. “She’s a great finisher and she definitely did that against us today.”
Still, the Vikings did not give up, with two goals by senior Hannah Miller that kept them close.
“We always try to overcome anything that’s thrown at us and continue to fight the whole game,” Gonzalez said.