A 15-minute shower early in the first half might have slowed Kearney girls soccer team a tad against Notre Dame de Sion, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop the Bulldogs’ high-octane offense.
Playing on its home field Saturday afternoon, Kearney scored twice in the first half and tacked on four more goals in the final 40 minutes for an impressive 6-2 victory over Notre Dame in a Missouri Class 2 quarterfinal match.
The win sends Kearney, 22-3-1, back to the Missouri Class 2 state tournament, which begins Friday in Blue Springs.
“It is awesome,” said Kearney senior forward Allie Hess. “This is our second year in a row now. Last year we finished third. Our motto this year is ‘Unfinished Business.’ Hence, we are ready to go after that state title. This definitely helps us.”
Rain dominated the first 10 minutes of the game. It made the field a little slick, Hess said. In the 11th minute, the Bulldogs overcame the damp conditions when junior midfielder Lexie Howard gave Kearney a 1-0 lead.
Notre Dame answered a minute later with a goal by sophomore midfielder Stephanie Ostrander.
That bit of in-game adversity for the Bulldogs was minor compared to what they endured in early April.
“We went through a really tough stretch with a lot of injuries,” Kearney coach Jackie Haller said. “Some games we had as many as five starters out.”
It took Kearney only 4 minutes to break the 1-1 tie when Hess gave the Bulldogs the lead for good with 24:17 left in the first half.
“I backed up and drew the defender out,” Hess said. “I got a good touch on it. Luckily, I got a good foot on the ball and got it in the back of the net.”
In the second half, the Bulldogs showed their quick-strike ability. Once again, Howard started the scoring with a goal with 30:36 left in the match. Less than 2 minutes later, senior defender Jordyn Webster scored, and three minutes after that junior defender Elizabeth McQueen scored from nearly 30 yards out on a free kick.
“I think it really brought them down,” Hess said. “After we got up three goals, I think it completely demolished them. They didn’t have any fight left. When you get down three goals, it is pretty hard to get yourself motivated to come back.”
Stephanie Lewis scored the final goal for Kearney.