OLATHE – Paige Swanson’s last-minute first-half goal was all the momentum the Maize Eagles needed.
Swanson sent in a rocket into the upper corner to tie the game and the Eagles came out firing in the second half and claimed the Class 6A girls soccer third-place trophy with a 4-1 win over the Shawnee Mission West Vikings on Saturday.
“We obviously came here with the goal of a state title, but this is a great way to end the year,” Swanson said. “Coach (Jay Holmes) told us before the game that fourth place doesn’t get a trophy. We wanted to make sure we went home with one.”
Maize finishes the season 19-2.
SM West struck first, when Morgan Mauk’s low shot ricocheted in off the left post in the ninth minute. Neither team mounted much of a threat until just over a minute remained in the first half, when Swanson tied it.
The Eagles then got three quick shots on goal in the second half before Swanson found her way out of a scrum in the goal box and scored to give Maize a 2-1 lead.
“It was huge to get some momentum going into halftime and we knew we wanted to come out aggressively in the second half and take control,” she said. “It was packed and I got out of it and had a good shot.”
Makayla Toth sent in a header on a pass from Katie McClure in the 54th minute and McClure tapped in a goal off a rebound late to push the lead to 4-1.
Maize outshot SM West 15-9, including 9-6 in the second half, and doubled SM West’s five shots on goal.
First half – SM West, Mauk; Maize, Swanson, Swanson (McClure), McClure. Shots — SM West 1-4—5, Maize 3-7—10. Saves – SM West, Alyssa Gregory 2-4–6; Maize, Saige Baalman 0-4—4.