East couldn’t slow down the explosive attack from Blue Valley West, which won 4-1 with four goals from four players in a
“We have a lot of go-to kids,” Blue Valley West coach Alex Aiman said. “It’s all about who’s going to step up today.”
For East, it was a big step up in competition.
“We were nervous in the first 15 or 20 minutes,” Wichita East coach Dylan Gruntzel said. “Blue Valley West is used to playing these style of games. That’s something Wichita lacks. We don’t have too many big games. We just don’t have this type of competition, and we’re not used to this style of play. You can train against it as much as possible, but there’s no substitution for seeing it in games.”
Sophomore Lindsi Banker gave Blue Valley West a 1-0 lead with a straight shot at the 22:36 mark of the first half. Less than 10 minutes later, Marisa Popoola’s header on an assist from Grace Scopp increased the Jaguars’ lead to 2-0.
East junior forward Anahy Guevera cut the Jaguars’ lead in half when she beat two defenders for a goal with 11:33 left in the first half.
“We can play with this team,” Gruntzel said. “If we look for the correct plays, we could have more chances. But that is credit to Blue Valley West. They pressed us and made us uncomfortable.”
Blue Valley West regained its two-goal advantage when senior forward Shelby Lierz scored on a free kick at the 3:46 mark of the first half. Jaguars senior forward Jessie Jacobsen broke free for another goal with 9:15 left in the second half.
Blue Valley West defeated Blue Valley North 9-3 in a previous meeting this season.
“It was a weird game,” Aiman said. “He didn’t have his full team, and we didn’t have a full team. There was a 40 mph wind. So just throw that game out. Literally throw it out.”
The Jaguars are vying for their first state championship since they won consecutive 6A titles in 2009-10. They fell to Shawnee Mission West in the state championship last year. Blue Valley North’s last girls soccer title came in 2007.
Wichita East (16-3-1) will play Washburn Rural (18-2) in the third-place game at noon Saturday.