The Maize girls soccer team’s performance in the first half of its 9-1 win in a Class 6A quarterfinal against Hutchinson on Tuesday might be its best this season.
The Eagles have transformed through the season, working through injuries and constantly improving. Two weeks ago Maize defeated Hutchinson in a close 2-1 game, but the Eagles made a statement Tuesday.
“There have been a couple other games this season, the Olathe Northwest game we played really well and ended up on the losing end of it, we played Blue Valley North tight in a game. I think it was one of our best performances by far,” Maize coach Jay Holmes said.
Only 1:03 into the game, Maize’s Whitney Lucas scored her first of four goals. Two minutes later Madison Holmes sent a corner kick across the mouth of the goal for Lucas to score on a header.
“Those two goals, with a young team we didn’t bounce back, but I wasn’t too concerned because we’ve came back before,” Hutchinson coach Christina Reeves said. “I wasn’t ready to count (Hutch) out, I was ready to give them that pump-up speech at halftime, and I never got that opportunity because it snowballed on us.”
Maize scored six goals in the first half, three coming from Lucas, two from freshman Katie McClure, and a long cross that snuck in the back post from Paige Thompson on the left side.
“I told the girls before the game that I wanted them to play like they’re ready for the state tournament,” Holmes said. “This is a state tournament qualifying game, and to play like you’re in the state tournament, and to come out and play aggressive and support each other, and they did a great job of that tonight,”
Although Hutchinson slowed down Maize’s passing through the midfield at the beginning of the second half, Maize added three more goals. Hutchinson’s Jordan Downing scored on a counter attack with 18:14 remaining in the half.
The progress Maize has made through the season could be a scary thought for its next opponent.
“We’ve had some injuries unfortunately, which has created opportunities for other girls to play, and this last third of the season I just think they’ve really meshed together well,” Holmes said. “I think we’re playing pretty high-level soccer right now.”
This will be Maize’s seventh consecutive state tournament appearance. The Eagles finished third last season.
First half—Maize, Lucas (unassisted), Lucas (Holmes), McClure (unassisted), Lucas (unassisted), McClure (Lucas), Thompson (unassisted). Second half—Maize, Swanson (Thompson), Andrus (unassisted), Lucas (unassisted). Hutchinson, Downing (unassisted). Shots—Hutchinson, 2-1—3; Maize, 12-8—20. Saves—Hutchinson, Dejmal 5-1—6, Armstrong 0-3—3; Maize, Baalman 2-0—2.
Manhattan 2, Heights 1
First half – Manhattan, Ally (UA). Second half – Manhattan, Baily (Havannah); Heights, Scott (UA). Shots – Heights 5-10 — 15; Manhattan 7-8 — 15. Saves – Heights, De La O 5-7 — 12; Manhattan, Fiser 6-8 — 14.
Winfield 3, McPherson 2
First half – McPherson, O’Connor (UK); McPherson, O’Connor (UA). Second half – Winfield, McNutt (UA); Winfield, McNutt (Hottinger). Over time — Winfield, Pollock (UA). Shots – McPherson 4-11-1 — 16; Winfield 3-10-1 — 14. Saves – McPherson 2-4-0 —6; Winfield, Tegorsch 2-8-1 — 11.