6A girls soccer: Northwest, Maize both tumble
OLATHE — Wichita Northwest forward Renee Gillespie leaped into the arms of fellow sophomore Aliya Higginbotham after the two connected for a game-tying score in Friday night’s Class 6A semifinal against Olathe East.
The goal, however, was the Grizzlies’ only chance to celebrate.
Northwest fought to a tie through the first 35 minutes, but the unbeaten Hawks strung together seven consecutive goals to pull away for an 8-1 win and moved into today’s championship game against Blue Valley West at College Boulevard Activity Complex.
"Our game plan was to keep the game low scoring early, and we executed that," Grizzlies coach Bobby Bribiesca said. "But after that, the best team took over. There’s no doubt about that."
Olathe East junior Lauren Zach scored four goals — three after halftime — and Kirstyn Corder added two more, including one in the 37th minute to kickstart a string of six goals in 25 minutes.
Grizzlies keeper Mackenzie Lahan stayed busy, maing 12 saves.
"(Corder’s) goal to give us the lead right before the half was a huge deal," Zach said. "To go into halftime up a goal made such a big difference."
Zach scored the game’s opening goal in the 11th minute, but the Grizzlies answered only three minutes later. Higginbotham delivered a perfect crossing pass to Gillespie, who redirected the ball in the air past Lindsey Lyman to knot the score at one.
Olast East goals: Zach 4, Corder 2, Hanson, Dobesh; Wichita Northwest, Gillespie
Blue Valley West 7, Maize 0 — The Eagles’ run of bad luck in the state semifinals stretched into another year. This time it hit before the match even started.
Maize defender Natalie Chabot dislocated her elbow during pregame warmups, and Gabby Ybarra left a few minutes into the game with a knee injury. The Jaguars took advantage of their absences, scoring in bunches to bounce Maize from the Class 6A semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. It was Maize’s first loss of the season.
"We’d been playing pretty well coming into this, but obviously we don’t see this level of competition regularly," Maize coach Jay Holmes said. "Our goal was to get the early goal, and they came away with it. It just didn’t materialize tonight."
Jamie Yearout scored five minutes into the match, and Alexis Aiman picked up a hat trick for Blue Valley West (17-1-2).
"We’ve had an outstanding season," Holmes said. "We’ll have to put this behind us and come out and play with some fire against (Wichita-Northwest) tomorrow."
Blue Valley West goals: Alexis Aiman 3, Lopez, Yearout, Blinzler, Catrell.