Shawnee Mission East soccer’s unbeaten season comes to an end, falls short against nationally-ranked Olathe East

Lancer senior center back Taylor Stover holds off a Olathe East's Adrian Blanco Tuesday evening. The Lancers lost the game 1-0 on header off a free kick.
Lancer senior center back Taylor Stover holds off Olathe East’s Adrian Blanco Tuesday evening. The Lancers lost the game 1-0 on header off a free kick. (Contributed by Carrie Armstrong)

Jamie Kelly knew Shawnee Mission East and Olathe East’s soccer game on Tuesday night would be a one-goal game.

Coming into the clash, Shawnee Mission East was 13-0-1 and Olathe East was 14-0-0. The winner would not only win the Sunflower League, but would be the eastern side of the bracket’s No. 1 seed when the playoffs begin.

The SM East coach wasn’t wrong as Olathe East — the No. 10 in the nation — scored a second-half goal to top the Lancers.

“They’re a very good team,” Kelly said. “There’s a reason these two teams are undefeated. We both feel we’re the best teams in the state (at Class 6A). We had opportunities, especially in the beginning of the game. We had three pretty good ones, but couldn’t put them away. Hats off to them. They got one in the back of the net and we didn’t. I feel like we competed with them and I think they know we competed with them.

“They’re league champions this year and we’ll take second place and we’ll see if we can reverse those roles at state if we’re fortunate enough to get that far.”

The Lancers had their opportunities to find the back of the net in the first 10 minutes, but either hit their shots at Olathe East keeper Jesus Navarro or couldn’t find the frame.

The same thing occurred in the first five minutes of the second half, but again, SM East couldn’t score.

With 32 minutes left in the game, Lancer goalkeeper Collyn Lowry made a diving save to his right to keep Olathe East off the scoreboard for the time being, but the ball made its way outside the box and SM East was called for a dangerous play giving the Hawks a free kick from 25 yards.

Off the restart Julien Denis found Jacob Chapman, who headed the ball in to give the Hawks all the offense they needed.

The Lancers kept their composure despite being down and had two quality chances late to tie it.

The last being a free kick from senior midfielder Oliver Bihuniak, who had thought he had leveled the game with 5:30 remaining.

“It was on the left side and I saw the keeper was cheating a bit and thought I was going to hit it on the left side so I curled it around (the wall) and hit it far post,” Bihuniak said. “I thought it went in at first. Obviously it’s incredibly frustrating I hit the bar.”

The unbeaten season has come to an end, but the end goal still remains the same: to win state.

Senior forward Clayton Phillips dubbed it as the “game of the century.”

“There was definitely some pressure, but we were more excited to play them,” Phillips said. “I think more pressure was on them because they are ranked higher.”

Phillips said they were more ready to play and noted there would be pressure regardless because they were undefeated.

Kelly said they never really talked about the undefeated season.

“The boys know the record, they know what it is,” Kelly said. “They already had the best start in school history when they went 12-0-1. I don’t think the pressure of the undefeated because at this point we know if we win that game we win league, assuming we take care of business on Thursday against Shawnee Mission North.

“That part is done so now we can focus on North and getting ready for state.”