TOPEKA – This was no fairy tale ending.
With a number of talented players back from its 2016 “What if” team that fell in double-overtime to the state champs, it was fair to assume the Lansing Lions girls’ soccer team felt good about its chances to make a big move this spring.
After a 6-2 start to the season, the fates intervened and that's when things being fair went out the window as a tough, down-the-stretch schedule and a host of injuries pushed them into a season ending eight-game losing streak.
The last one came Tuesday night in a Northwest Regional No. 2 semifinal at Seaman and the No. 7 seeded, host Vikings would end the Lansing season with a 2-1 loss.
Lansing (6-10) saw its campaign end with a number of its heavy hitters sitting the bench, out for the season with injury.
“That's the way it breaks when you are that injured and short on your rotation, it's hard to get results when you are struggling to put players on the field,” Lansing head coach Adam Cogswell said. “I think we were a little unlucky and a little bitten this season. We go back and asses what we have to do to get better and move on to the next step.”
The Lions played from the back, hoping to eliminate the number of prime scoring chances for,the Vikings, but despite that intent, Seaman got plenty of looks at,the goal in the early going.
Seeing the Lions not have any real attacks forward, Seaman pressed forward and ultimately broke the ice in the 21st minute on a solid 2-on-1 breakaway that Lansing couldn't deny and the hosts led 1-0.
Four minutes later, Seaman tallied once more to double its advantage and the Lions were now put in an attack-or-else position.
The second half saw improved play on Lansing's side of the ball, but they couldn't strike true and found the Lions scrapping to break through.
Sophomore Lion goalkeeper Brynne Qualley made a number of monster saves to keep her team in the hunt to aid the rally efforts.
“It's definitely hard where we are at – we had so many key players injured – but the fact we were able to respond on the second half and get that goal back, that speaks a lot for the team and what our future is going to be like,” junior Lion Maddy Fay said.
Finally, Georgia Watkins tallied in the 77th minute on a 30-yard wonder goal that crossed the goal mouth and nestled into the upper left corner to cut Lansing's deficit in half.
They would fail to score the equalizer.
“The season was a learning season and we knew going in it would be challenging since we lost so many key players this year and we had younger players coming up,” Watkins said. “We learned about each other and how to work as a team. It's important that we keep our heads up after this season and we go into next season positive.”
Leavenworth’s season ends
The Pioneer girls’ soccer team dropped a 9-1 decision at No. 6 Mill Valley in Tuesday's Northwest Regional No. 2 action.
The 11th seeded LVHS girls finished the season at 3-14.