THS girls soccer falls on Senior Night
When the Tonganoxie High girls soccer team took to the pitch at Chieftain Park last Tuesday for its Senior Night showdown with Basehor-Linwood, coach Ken Lott had a slew of seniors he could send in for battle. But the one he may have needed most was standing beside him on the sideline supported by crutches.
The night before, the Chieftains' leading scorer, Alexa Moreno, twisted her right ankle against Gardner-Edgerton and was unavailable for her final home match. After falling behind early, THS stormed back in the second half, but fell 4-2 to the Bobcats without Moreno on the attack.
THS junior Jordan Gagne said the team did the best it could without its offensive leader.
"Alexa is a fantastic player and of course it's hard when she's not out there," Gagne said. "But we always keep the girls up to know that it's not just one player, it's the team."
BLHS led 2-0 at the half, but Gagne provided some momentum for the Chieftains when she scored on a penalty kick in the 49th minute.
"I was nervous, but I really wanted that goal," she said of her first penalty kick attempt as a prep.
As Gagne began her move toward the ball, she thought she had a chance.
"I saw the keeper sort of move to the left, so I was like: 'Aim it toward the right,'" she said, adding that the score, which put her team down 2-1, gave the team hope.
10 minutes later THS had more than that when Alex Bartels capitalized on a rare opportunity to put the ball in an unattended goal as the BLHS keeper came out of position.
However, the Bobcats' Jessica Smith scored two more goals, giving her three on the evening as BLHS went on to victory.
Senior THS goalkeeper Sarah Flaherty was proud of how the team battled back.
"We played tough the whole game. We definitely didn't give up. We got beat on a few balls. Definitely the ups were fighting back, getting two goals and not giving up," Flaherty said. "They beat us. It wasn't given to them."
Lott said win or lose the night was important to him because so many of the team's seniors were a part of the inaugural girls soccer team in 2007 and many of them played on the co-ed team for THS before that.
"It's special for them and it's special for the kids around them that notice them as leaders on the field and sometimes off the field," Lott said.
"For me, I hate to see them go," he continued. "The season's not over yet, but I'm not really looking forward to the soccer banquet because, for me, I'm telling them all goodbye and that's probably going to be hard as a coach, as a person."
The Chieftains wrapped up their regular season with road losses Thursday and Friday. THS lost 4-0 at Kansas City Christian and 5-0 at Ottawa.