Sure, there may be some room for improvement for Lee’s Summit West girls soccer team. But not much room.
West has played excellent soccer almost the whole the season, but the Titans have rarely looked as good as they did in beating Nixa 5-0 in a Class 4 sectional match May 22 at West. The Titans combined spot-on passing, stifling defense and an early three-goal outburst to quickly put the match out of reach.
“I think we’re at our peak right now,” West senior forward Kassidy Newsom said. “We know exactly what our goals are so right now we’re playing at the highest level that I think we can and it’s only going to go up from here.”
West (21-1) wasted no time racing out to a 3-0 lead on Nixa (15-6-1) in the first 15 minutes. Newsom scored first on a pass from Grace Heenan right in front of the goal just two minutes in.
Heenan was tackled just outside the 18-yard box nine minutes later to set up a free kick Carsyn Overin knocked into the upper right corner of the net. And it took just another five minutes for Taylor Reid to score off a cross from Newsom and put the Titans up 3-0.
“I think that’s when our team is most dangerous is when they score early,” West girls soccer coach Shaun Owens said. “That’s when their confidence really builds. They’re a patient team but if they’re fortunate enough to get a goal early, that’s when their confidence really excels.”
West went up 4-0 10 minutes before halftime when McKayla Brady converted a penalty kick after getting pushed down in the box. Kara Privitera ended the scoring when she dribbled into the box and flicked in a shot six minutes into the second half.
That’s five goals from five different players.
“And that’s what I love about this team,” Owens said. “You can try to prepare for one player and defend them and another player steps up. Somebody different is almost consistently making a difference, which is nice.”
Nixa, meanwhile, found very few opportunities around the goal, even against West’s reserves. The Eagles did threaten with a breakaway midway through the second half, but West goalie Tori Hunter sprinted off her line and gobbled up the ball to end the threat.
“I thought throughout the whole game we stayed strong,” Newsom said. “I think our bench players were just amazing. They came and kept the level of play as high as it was for the starters throughout the whole game.”
The victory puts West in a quarterfinal match against Columbia Rock Bridge scheduled for noon May 26 at Rock Bridge. West beat Rock Bridge 2-0 last year in the quarterfinals at home to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2006.
Rock Bridge (18-5-1) beat Springfield Kickapoo 2-1 in its sectional match. Had Kickapoo won, West would have played at home against a team it beat 9-0 during the regular season.
As well as they’re playing right now, the Titans don’t care where they go or who they face.
“I don’t think field advantage has any effect on us, so we’ll be OK,” Newsom said.