High School Sports

Kearney girls stumble in state soccer semifinal

Kearney senior Mackenzie Billings (right) battled with a Rockwood Summit player for possession during a Missouri Class 3 semifinals game at Swope Soccer Village on Friday afternoon.
Kearney senior Mackenzie Billings (right) battled with a Rockwood Summit player for possession during a Missouri Class 3 semifinals game at Swope Soccer Village on Friday afternoon. Special to the Star

The Kearney girls soccer team came to state on a roll. Not only had the Bulldogs not lost a match since March, they also had just beaten a team considered one of the best in the nation.

The Bulldogs were riding high. A little too high, perhaps.

Kearney came crashing down to Earth on Friday in the semifinals of the Missouri Class 3 girls state soccer tournament with a 2-0 loss to Rockwood Summit at Swope Soccer Village.

Kearney had earned its spot in the final four with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Notre Dame de Sion, a team undefeated and ranked No. 1 nationally. Kearney coach Amanda Hopkins was certain that win would have the Bulldogs full of confidence.

Instead, Hopkins thought they may have been a little too full of themselves.

“You beat the No. 1 team in the country and you become a little overconfident,” Hopkins said. “We just didn’t play well. We didn’t play our game of soccer at all.”

Kearney (22-2) could muster only two shots on goal — one in each half. The closest the Bulldogs came to a goal was on a shot from outside the penalty area by Caroline Kelley that Rockwood Summit goalkeeper Katelyn Nash thwarted with a fingertip save midway through the first half.

Rockwood Summit (18-2-3) got its first goal when Lauren Tyson punched in a cross from Anna Walsh with 4 minutes left in the first half. Lily Schneiders put it away for the Falcons with a shot from middle of the box on a through ball from Julia Martens with 13 minutes left in the game.

“(After) getting down 1-0, they didn’t fight,” Hopkins said. “My girls are fighters, and they didn’t have that fight today. That kind of took the wind out of their sails.”

It was a physical match, with a total of 26 fouls called and four yellow cards issued. Hopkins didn’t think the chippiness bothered the Bulldogs because she said they’re used to rugged play.

They’re not used to losing, not after winning 20 straight following a 1-0 loss to Blue Springs South on March 26. Kearney will close its season against Union (21-2) 10 a.m. Saturday in the third-place match. Union lost to Incarnate Word Academy of St. Louis 1-0 in the other semifinal on Friday.

Rockwood Summit and Incarnate Word meet for the Class 3 title at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“I told them this is where you show people what you’re made of,” Hopkins said, “when you come off a loss like that, to see if you can win tomorrow.”

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