Heights girls soccer coach Steve Parks hoped the Falcons would be in the position they found themselves in with five minutes left Thursday night against Maize.
Heights had held the Eagles' high-scoring offense to one goal for 75 minutes. If the Falcons could get just one or two good runs late....
But when Heights' Selby Polley broke away for the scoring chance the Falcons had waited for and fired a shot, Maize goalie Kaitlyn Black turned it away — then jumped to tip away a second shot — as the Eagles held on for a 1-0 win.
Maize advanced to the final of the Blue bracket of the Titan Classic and will play Kapaun, a 1-0 winner against Salina Central in the other semifinal, at 2 p.m. Saturday.
"That's what we wanted, if we give up one or two we're in the game, and we had a great, great opportunity late and that was the plan," Parks said.
Heights showed just how determined it was to slow Maize's offense by playing a straight man-to-man defense and packing as many as eight into the box.
The Falcons held Maize to four shots each half, no small feat against a team that outscored its opponents 17-1 in the first two games.
"We know they have a couple major, major threats," Parks said. "Defensively, we were fabulous, a great effort."
But Maize was patient and controlled the ball for most of the first half, and kept control of the game by continuing to press forward.
"I thought especially in the first half we did an outstanding job of possessing the ball, but it's difficult to score when they have eight in there," Maize coach Jay Holmes said.
The control set up Maize's Kelsey Lyden, who scored the lone goal of the game with 15:24 to go in the first half.
"Once we get the ball we can move it around anyone," Lyden said. "Me and Blair (Terry) had a little one-two and I just hammered it and put it in the back of the net."
Maize was just as determined to keep Polley at bay for Heights. Holmes had senior Logan Shupe follow her all night and not allow Polley to turn and run toward the goal.
The result was Polley getting nothing easy — and just the one good run at goal.
"I was pretty much her shadow and followed her everywhere," Shupe said. "I knew if she got the ball and turned she was just going to go and we couldn't let her go."
Kapaun 1, Salina Central 0 — Kapaun's Courtney McKenzie scored with 5:13 left in the first half for the only goal on an assist from Caroline Kastor.
Heights0 0 — 0 Maize1 0 — 1
First half—Maize, Lyden (Holmes). Shots— Heights 0-2—2; Maize 4-4—8. Saves— Heights, Gresham 3-3—6; Maize, Black 0-2—2.
Salina Central0 0 — 0 Kapaun1 0 — 1
First half—Kapaun, McKenzie (Kastor). Shots— Salina Central 5-3—8; Kapaun 5-8—13. Saves— Salina Central, Counts 0-0—0; Kapaun, Lujano 1-0—1.