LVHS girls' soccer wins again; Lansing takes down Tongie
Leavenworth High School girls’ soccer appears to be the real deal in 2018.
Yet, in an incredible turn of fortune, what once was a program that took happiness in just playing games regardless of how bad a loss might have been, they now are a core of coaches and young women who see past the final result and expect more from themselves.
In other words, the foundation of a winning program.
Friday, the Pioneers wrapped a 2-0-1 first week of the campaign with an emphatic 1-0 home win over a talented Shawnee Heights team as they saw Alexis Roan’s first half goal hold up despite immense second-half pressure by their guests.
Roan’s goal came in the 18th minute and then the teams would battle back-and-forth from there, with Leavenworth dominating play in the first half and Shawnee Heights taking some control after halftime.
Thanks to junior goaltender Liz LaDuron’s big play in between the posts that culminated with a huge save with 10 seconds to go, Leavenworth avoided a second overtime game of the week and have held opponents scoreless for the last 187 minutes.
“It’s really refreshing to sit back here and do a lot of nitpicking versus a lot of the basics,” LVHS head coach Derek Wilson. “These girls have a lot of talent. I thought we were the dominant team in the first half, just like they were in the second half. As I was happy I was with the first half, but not as much as the second half. We are not a deep team so this could be a common theme that we have to put our chances away early, because in the second half a little bit against the stronger, deeper teams.
“We shot four breakaway shots at the (goalie) hands. I am not sure why we are doing it. I have to figure out how to stop doing that.”
The win is huge for the Pioneers moving forward as their confidence grows.
“It was a 1-0 loss to them last year, so for us to beat them, is pretty big,” LVHS junior Sydney Howell said. “It’s great. We are changing the program. We have more people coming out and we can show them that we can do this. It’s our teamwork where last year, we were more individual and now we work together so well.”
A big shift in approach has been the Pioneers - once so young and small - are now a more mature and fit unit ready to dish it more than they take it.
“We knew they were going to come out hard, that’s why we lost last year,” sophomore Kaylee Shaw said. “We said ‘This year, we are going to give it right back.’ We want to win and we want to change this program. Players this year have the drive to become better.
“We have to give the same attitude every single game and have the mentality that we can win every single game. We can’t be too confident, we can’t be less confident. We have to stay right where we are at right now.”
“All the girls have experience and after last season, all the girls went to club and we experienced that toughness and conditioning,” Howell said. “We came back older and with more experience. This is so big, because we knew when they came back out, they were going to be mad. We knew if we had to play defense the entire time, just to keep it like that, we will.”
Now to take in a solid start to the season.
“At the end of the day, I am happy with the 2-0-1 record, but more than that, I am happy with how we are playing,” Wilson said. “We needed Liz tonight, she came up big. She hasn’t gotten the same amount of quantity (in the number of saves) but they are the same quality. My big fear is that she’s so used to be so busy that she might be a bitt inattentive at times. But I’d rather worry about that than the other.”
LANSING 1, Tonganoxie 0
Behind a Maddy Fay penalty kick in the 55th minute, the Lansing Lions held on for a 1-0 win over an always feisty Tonganoxie squad Friday night.
Lansing (1-1-1) dominated play with a shot advantage of 18-1.
“After a week of competition, I am pretty happy with how the team is possessing the ball in the first and second third of the pitch,” Lansing head coach Ryan Yedlinsky said. “We made some strides tonight in maintaining possession in the final third, but we've still got work to do there.
“Defensively, we're doing well. We have a solid rotation of players with whom I'm comfortable to keep legs fresh throughout a match. Minus a couple of miscues here and there, we're playing strong defense.”
Now it’s just a matter of getting the scoring touch down as Lansing has only scored once in the run of play over 260 minutes.
“Right now, our biggest weakness is finishing,” Yedlinsky said. “Now that we've started possessing the ball closer to the opposing goal, we need to capitalize more on opportunities in and near their penalty area. We're simply not putting quality shots on net. That will be a focus area next week, for sure.”