After a hard-fought victory to get into the state tournament, the Maize girls soccer team showed some more offensive prowess to move on.
Eagles sophomore Katie McClure’s hat trick proved to be a major difference for Maize (19-1) in a 4-2 win over Shawnee Mission West at Class 6A semifinals Friday at Hummer Sports Park.
Maize will play Blue valley Northwest for the championship at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“It felt awesome, to actually make all three of those goals meant a lot to me and my team," McClure said. "I wanted to go out there and give my best effort and I did.”
It started early in the game, the third minute when McClure launched a shot off her left foot that went past the Shawnee Mission West goalkeeper Alyssa Gregory for a 1-0 lead.
SM West (14-6) had a few chances in the attacking end of the field, but struggled to put anything on frame.
McClure added her second goal in the 24th minute thanks to pass by junior Mia Taylor. McClure made a quick turn in the box and then struck the ball into the right corner of the net, giving the Eagles a 2-0 advantage.
“She has good midfielders that get her in good positions to score and it takes a team effort to get her in position to put the ball in the back of the net,” Maize coach Jay Holmes said.
The Vikings got on the board in 33rd minute when senior Emily Franchett headed a pass over to sophomore Hannah Miller. Miller then took the ball with right foot and moved it past Saige Baalman on the left side.
McClure finished off her hat trick in the 51st minute with a shot that ricocheted off the cross bar and over the goal line, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
“I just don’t really look at a keeper,” McClure said. “I always just pick a post and that’s what I learn from coach and a lot of other people and that’s helped me put it in the back of the net.”
In the 58th minute, Miller had a good chance to get the Vikings closer to level, but a full extension stop by Baalman kept the game at 3-1.
But SM West got back into the game in the 65th minute with the same combination of Franchett passing it to Miller for her second goal and cutting the Maize lead to one.
With about eight minutes left, Maize managed to hold off two good chances from SM West. The second was a diving save by Baalman that kept the game at 3-2.
The Eagles iced the game when Makayla Toth hit a ball outside the 18-yard box that flew into back of the net.
“I think in the offensive third they feel like nobody can beat them and they just go at people,” Holmes said.
Maize 4, SM West 2
First half—Maize, McClure (unassisted) McClure (Taylor); Miller (Franchett). Second half—Maize, McClure, Toth (penalty kick); Miller (Franchett). Shots— Maize 3-8—11, SM West 8-12—20. Saves—SM West, Gregory 1-3—4; Maize, Baalman 4-4—8.
BV Northwest 3, Wash. Rural 0
First half—Blue Valley Northwest, Kizer (Reeder).Kizer(penalty kick). Second half—Blue Valley Northwest, Priest. Shots—Blue Valley Northwest 9-5—14, Washburn Rural 2-1—3. Saves—Blue Valley Northwest , Watson 2-0—2; Washburn Rural , Fritz 9-5—14.