One night after clinching the Suburban Gold Conference girls soccer championship, Lee’s Summit North got to celebrate in front of a large gathering of friends and fans Tuesday night. And it got to play for a good cause, too.
North won the sixth annual Pink Out Game with Lee’s Summit West, notching two goals in the first half and holding on in the second half for a 2-0 victory in front of a large pink-clad crowd of Broncos and Titans fans at Titan Stadium. The annual event to raise money and awareness for breast cancer is always a special night. For the Broncos, this one was just a little more special.
“It’s a really good feeling, winning conference and winning this game because this is always a huge game for us,” said North senior Lilli Davis, whose goal before halftime put the Broncos in command.
North took command of the conference on Monday night with a 1-0 victory over Park Hill at home, a win that gave the Broncos a three-game lead in league play with two to play. It was also Senior Night, and the Broncos sent off their seven upperclassmen with a ceremony before the match.
That’s a lot of emotion for one evening, and North head coach Ryan Kelley just hoped his team wasn’t sapped emotionally or physically leading into another big night. He was pleased on both accounts.
“It was nice to bounce back and not lose focus on what we wanted to do,” Kelley said. “We did a good job of clinching that last night but then coming out again tonight right away and not having any sort of letdown.”
West was the aggressor early, and the Titans created more opportunities than the Broncos in the first half and throughout the game. West just couldn’t find a way to get a ball past North goalkeeper Sarah Peters, who made four spectacular saves in recording her ninth shutout.
“We’re possessing well but we’re struggling to finish in the box,” West coach Shaun Owens said. “To their credit, they’ve got a great defense and a great goalie.”
North got its first goal midway through the first half when Alexis Mitchell got a ball from Gianna Palmentere in the right corner of the 18-yard box and fired a shot to the far post that found the net.
West almost equalized in the final 1:30 of the half when Peters saved a point-blank shot by Kara Privitera in front of the goal. North countered and with 47 seconds left, Davis got hold of a through ball from well outside the box from Joanie Westcoat and knocked it in.
“Joanie sent that ball in and I saw it go over the defender’s head and I was like, ‘I’ve got to go,’ Davis said.
The two-goal lead offered North a chance to hang back in the second half and conserve some of the legs still tired from the night before. West kept Peters busy from the opening minutes of the half, when she made a leaping finger-tip stop on a high shot from Emma Edzards.
“We were hoping to get the lead early and force them to chase the game,” Kelley said. “We were glad to get up early, glad to get those two goals in the second half. To get that last one right before halftime was really big for us.”
It was also a big night for the Stephanie Vest Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families that are fighting cancer, which was selected the main beneficiary of this year’s Pink Out. Funds were raised through pink T-shirt sales, a basket raffle, a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for a chance to play bubble soccer during halftime.
A balloon release before the varsity match honored survivors and victims of cancer, and a halftime ceremony recognized guest honoree Kris Pierson, a breast cancer survivor who shared her battle with the disease.
“It’s a great event and a great fund-raiser and our girls love it,” Owens said. “I really feel disappointed for them because this is a game they really wanted and talked about all season.”
Postseason play begins
West has the No. 1 seed in the Class 4 District 12 tournament, which starts Saturday at Bud Hertzog Stadium. West will meet Ruskin at 9:30 a.m. in the semifinals. Lee’s Summit has the No. 2 seed and plays Raymore-Peculiar at 8 a.m. The final is set for 6:30 Wednesday.
North is seeded first and will play host to the Class 4 District 13 tournament. The Broncos play Fort Osage 5 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals; No. 2 Blue Springs South meets Blue Springs in the other semifinal. The final will be Thursday at 6 p.m.
Summit Christian Academy is also seeded first in the Class 1 District 8 tournament at St. Joseph LeBlond. SCA will meet either Northland Christian or Lutheran 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals. The final is set for 5 p.m. Thursday.
SCA finished the regular season 20-3 after losing to Notre Dame de Sion 6-0 on Wednesday.