If there was ever an inkling of hope that Maize South could weather the storm that is the Maize girls soccer attack this season, it ended in the third minute of Tuesday’s Class 5A quarterfinals game.
That’s when Maize senior Katie McClure tucked a 20-yard free kick over the wall, under the bar, and past the diving keeper. That was just the beginning.
In front of an estimated 600 fans that gathered at Maize to watch these two programs play for the first time, Maize’s offense proved as ruthless as ever in a 6-1 victory over Maize South that sent the Eagles to the final four of a state tournament for the 12th straight season. They will play Aquinas of Friday.
It was unclear how the rivalry and anticipation would affect the matchup. Would Maize South (12-7) ride a wave of emotion to give the No. 1 team in the state a challenge?
The Mavericks needed to survive the first half, when they were playing with the wind to their backs. Instead, McClure took over the game and demoralized a team that wanted to believe it could compete with Maize, but realized the Eagles were too much after they took a 3-0 halftime lead.
It was 5-0 before Maize South scored its first goal of the game, off a corner in the 57th minute when Hayden Burnett skied one to the back post and Avery Green was there to rise up and bury the header into the net.
But it was just a momentary relief from a Maize attack that is as ruthless and relentless as it ever has been during its 12-year state run.
Since the Eagles defeated Bishop Carroll 1-0 in the first game of the season, they have scored at least five goals in every game in the 17 games since.
Maize (18-0) will enter the Class 5A tournament as the favorite for the first time during its run as well. The Eagles are averaging close to eight goals per game and have the top two scorers in the state in McClure and Makayla Toth, who have combined for 98 goals.
First half– Maize, McClure; Maize, Zane (McClure); Maize, McClure. Second half–McClure, Kat. Krier; Maize, McClure (Kat. Krier); Maize South, Green (Burnett); Maize, Toth. Shots– Maize South 2-1–3, Maize 9-10–19. Saves– Maize South, Johannsen 5-3–8, Wilks x-3–3; Maize, Hardin 2-0–2, Bontrager x-0- -0.