Northwest felt the pressure of its matchup with Maize in the semifinal game of the Titan Classic girls soccer tournament on Thursday. A year ago, Maize beat Northwest in the Titan Classic semis on the way to the tournament title.
“I can’t tell you the last time we beat this team, they always seem to come out ahead, and when we come out we’re already intimidated. I think today we were intimidated,” Northwest coach Bobby Bribiesca said.
With Maize’s dominance in mind, Northwest fell to the Eagles 5-2, allowing Maize to advance to the championship game again.
The tone of the game was set early, when three goals were scored in the first five minutes of the game. Maize’s Paige Thompson deflected a ball fed from Madison Holmes to score the first goal, immediately answered by Northwest freshman Katie Cramer’s goal.
“It just looked like both teams were looking to play long balls into the attack, it just took us a while to settle down,” Maize coach Jay Holmes said. “I thought that the girls were playing a little tense in the first half, and probably the same could be said for them.”
Madison Holmes assisted the next two goals, one from Whitney Lucas on a breakaway, the other a header from Hadley Davis on Holmes’ corner kick. Northwest answered again when Lexi Clark sent a pass through to Renee Gillespie who beat the goalkeeper and cut the deficit to one with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
But Lucas chipped the goalkeeper two minutes later to give Maize a 4-2 lead heading into halftime.
“We changed it up to a four-four-two, and I think that gave us something up top,” Lucas said. “Our midfield was feeding us the ball well, and we transitioned well into the offense, that really helped me out.”
Maize’s possession overwhelmed Northwest in the second half. Although the Eagles only scored one more goal, from Paige Swanson, Maize allowed no Northwest shots.
“Today was a lesson, they gave us a lesson, it was a clinic, because they possess so well. They can make eight passes, and we were playing scared, we lacked confidence today,” Bribiesca said. “Maybe our backs played a little better in the second half because we didn’t give up as many goals, but at the same time they missed goals.”
Maize will face Kapaun in the championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday for the third straight year.
Kapaun 5, East 1— Kapaun’s offense stunned East, scoring four goals in the first half. The Crusaders stopped East’s attack down the middle, but East used its wings in the second half leading to Dayna Johnson’s goal. Hayley Shepherd scored two goals for Kapaun, while Grace Hagan and Katie Miller each added two assists. East will face Northwest in the third-place game at South on Saturday at noon.
First half—Maize, Thompson (Holmes); Northwest, Cramer (Gillespie); Maize, Lucas (Holmes), Davis (Holmes); Northwest, Gillespie (Clark); Maize, Lucas (Cinotto).
Second half—Maize, Swanson (Lucas).
Shots—Northwest, 3-0—3; Maize, 7-7—14. Saves—Northwest, Wellborn 3-6—9; Maize, Shupe 1-1—2.
First half—Kapaun, Boswell (Hagan), Matthews (Hagan), Kruse (Miller), H. Shepherd (Miller).
Second half—East, Johnson (unassisted); Kapaun, H. Shepherd (Boleski).
Shots—East, 3-2—5; Kapaun, 3-6—9. Saves—East, Bass 0-5—5; Kapaun, Kulas 3-1—4.