Despite having its state title dreams dashed less than 24 hours earlier, Smithville didn’t play like the walking dead in its Missouri Class 2 third-place soccer match with Lutheran South on Saturday morning at Blue Springs’ Peve Stadium.
Instead, the Warriors dominated and finished the season with a 3-0 win.
“It’s two-fold, because you’ve got to recover physically and emotionally,” Smithville coach Jon Reed said. “… But I give the kids credit, they were loose and laughing and joking around. That’s how this group’s been all year.”
Warriors junior forward Troy Williams opened the scoring in the 14th minute off an in-swinging 35-yard cross from senior defender Daniel Parker.
Williams’ header flummoxed Lancers goalkeeper Aaron Hohenstein and pegged Smithville to the early lead.
“We’re used to playing with a lead, so getting up early helped us settle down a little and settle into our game,” said Williams, who set up another goal 12 minutes later with a booming cross toward the upper left corner of Lutheran South’s goal.
Hohenstein stretched and tapped the shot high, preventing another goal but only momentarily.
Warriors senior midfielder Tylor Mensik tapped the rebound into the Lancers’ goal with a gentle header for a two-goal lead.
Meanwhile, the Lancers, 22-7-1, struggled to generate chances, though Smithville goalkeeper Kacey Ellwein did have to charge off his line with authority in the 62nd minute to win a foot race with Nick Bohlmann.
Finally, junior midfielder Junior Fairbanks punctuated the victory for the Warriors, 24-4-0, with a goal in the 69th minute, which he celebrated with a backflip on his way back to the center circle.
“We felt like the game yesterday (against St. Dominic) was the state championship game,” Williams said. “We thought whoever won our game was going to win state. Still, it feels good to win today, because you don’t want to come here and not win a game.”
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.