LEE’S SUMMIT — It was a tight first half in the Class 4 quarterfinal soccer game Saturday, May 25, between Liberty and Lee’s Summit North, as the Blue Jays headed into halftime with just a 1-0 lead. By the end of the game, however, the Blue Jays had busted the Broncos, scoring three second half goals to win 4-1.
The Blue Jays’ offensive attack was led by junior Madilyn Hamline and sophomore Maya Gaona, who each scored two goals. Juniors Rylie May and Allie Taylor, and sophomores Gaona and Ellie Rogers each had an assist.
The first goal of the game was scored about 20 minutes into the first half. May sent the ball out wide, and Hamline dribbled and took a shot on the near post, hitting it hard enough to get it across the goal and past the goalie. Hamline scored the second goal of the game about two minutes into the second half on a pass from Gaona.
With about 19 minutes to go in the game, the Blue Jays went up 3-0 on a shot by Gaona, with an assist by Rogers. Gaona had the last goal of the game after receiving the ball from Taylor.
“The girls were very driven this season,” head coach Tyler Nash said after the game. “Our goal all along was to make it to the state final four and be in a position to win it all, and that is what we have done. We are starting to see what the future can hold if we continue to play well.
“These girls play for each other. They love each other; they are a really tight-knit group. They don’t want to let each other down. They play at the top of their game for each other to make sure we have success,” he said.
Blue Jay goalkeeper Ashton Maloney, a sophomore, had five saves in the game. She only let one ball get past her, late in the game with about 13 minutes remaining.
“Our defense is the backbone of a lot of our success,” Nash said. “Our goalkeeper (Maloney) is fabulous. This is her first year playing goalie. She is a talented softball player who also plays soccer and she thought she would try being goalie. She has been amazing in the net.
“Our girls work so hard. It is a collective defense. You have to outwork the other team, and the other team was worn out 25 minutes in. We are an extremely fit team that loves to run, so if you want to run with us, let’s see what you’ve got. They (the Broncos) had trouble keeping up with our speed,” Nash said.
The Blue Jays will play in a final four Class 4 matchup at 2 p.m. Friday at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, facing Francis Howell Central High School of Cottleville.
Nash said this week will be focused on mental toughness.
“We have had one of the toughest schedules in the state this year, and the girls have shown a lot of resiliency this year,” he said. “We have worked hard and we are tough. We wanted an opportunity to play for the state championship, and day in and day out, we have put in the work.”
The Blue Jays are 21-2 so far this season, losing on penalty kicks to Staley High School during the season and to St. Teresa’s Academy early in the season. Liberty defeated Staley, also via penalty kicks, last week in the sectional game.