By Chris Heady
The SM East girls soccer team’s season came to a close Friday night when the Lady Lancers lost to Blue Valley North 2-1 in the regional finals. The loss was the Lancer’s first regional final loss in three years, and gave the Lady Lancers a final record of 12-2-4. “It’s tough, this is a tough one,” a tearful Coach Jamie Kelly said after the game.
The Lady Lancers went into the half with a 1-0 lead after junior Victoria Sabates broke away down field and scored with just over two minutes remaining in the half. But the constant pressure from Blue Valley North obstructed the potent Lancer offense.
“It was frustrating,” Kelly said, who thought the Blue Valley North defenders may have been targeting senior forward Addison Steiner. “It’s frustrating playing against a team that does something like that. It’s not the way I would coach but it was pretty obvious they were trying to foul her anytime she got the ball.”
Steiner would eventually get fouled so hard in the second half that she had to be helped off the field. “When a player like that goes out, you lose a lot,” Kelly said. Steiner complained of a sore head, but was cleared to play. The damage was done by the time Steiner came back. Blue Valley North had scored off of a corner kick, and shortly after Steiner ran onto the field, they took a 2-1 lead on a counter-attack goal.
“They ran their set pieces very well,” Kelly said. “There wasn’t much we could do about that.” After a furious attack by East in the final few minutes, the Lady Lancers came up short.
After the game, Kelly hugged each of the seniors and told them how proud of them he was of them. “These seniors had a great career, three regional titles, they have a lot to be proud of,” Kelly said. “I’m very proud of them as a group.”