Leavenworth's hard work pays off in season's first win; Saint Mary men lose at home

It can get lonely at the top and for the Lady Spires soccer team, that’s a good thing.
For the first time this season, the University of Saint Mary squad holds sole possession of first place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference standings after beating Ottawa University 2-1 Wednesday.
“Definitely the biggest win of our season so far,” USM coach Justin Seever said. “I can’t remember the last time we beat them so it was a really good effort.”
The victory pushes the Lady Spires to a perfect 3-0 in conference play, 7-3-2 overall, and for the moment ahead of Kansas Wesleyan University, 2-0 in the KCAC and 10-1 overall.
Though Saint Mary finished strong, the beginning of Wednesday’s contest was rough. The visiting Braves struck first and held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the opening half.
However, 10 minutes before the break, Jennifer Nye blasted home a goal to even the game up. It was Nye’s 10th of the season.
“We were pretty strong defensively throughout and after they got their goal, it sort of woke us up offensively,” Seever said.
The teams then went back and forth at each other until the 82nd minute. That is when Nicole Davis, following two quality passes from Nye and Ivory Baldwin, delivered the game winner. It was Davis’ fifth on the year.
USM keeper Lindsay Davis recorded six saves on the day. Saint Mary will play at McPherson College Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
“It keeps us focused being atop the league,” Seever said. “We are having fun out there and it’s not like we are pressing. I think today’s result just shows that we can compete with anyone in this league.”

Pioneers capture elusive victory
Hard work and mental fortitude paid off Wednesday for the Leavenworth boys’ soccer team.
The Pioneers used both to capture its first victory of the season — a 3-0 shut out at Topeka West.
“We changed our formation up a little bit and how we attacked and that produced some early results,” LV coach Ken Lott said. “I think the guys saw how aggressive they can be and the good things that come from it.”
All three of the Leavenworth strikes came in the first half. Marcus Erickson, Cameron Hayes and Thomas Guthrie delivered goals that presented the Pioneers with a comfortable 3-0 advantage.
“I think they are seeing that they can play aggressive on both offense and defense,” Lott said. “The transition from one to the other has been developing and this was another good step.”
With the multiple score lead, LV cruised to the victory behind a strong defensive performance, which was highlighted by its coach.
“They were communicating, setting up our offsides trap and defending real well,” Lott said.
LV, 1-12, will play its third game in as many days tonight when it hosts Olathe South at 7 p.m.

Offense powers Braves by Spires
A pair of goals by its visitors in each half Wednesday sunk the University of Saint Mary men’s soccer team.
The Spires allowed Ottawa to nail down a 2-0 advantage before half, and then the Braves added two more in the second period. Jake McCurry put USM on the board in the 62nd minute, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the squad lost 4-1.
Assisting McCurry was Adam Newbanks while Jeremy Herrman recorded five saves as the Spires’ keeper. Saint Mary, 4-8 and 1-2 in the KCAC, will travel to McPherson Saturday for an 8 p.m. match.