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Rural soccer remains unbeaten, earns regional title with 1-0 win over East



No matter how talented a soccer team is or how good its record is, there's almost always going to be at least one postseason game where that team is going to have to dig deep to keep their season going.

Thursday was one of those games for undefeated Washburn Rural, with the Junior Blues advancing to next Tuesday's Class 6A state quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over Wichita East in a 6A regional final on a cold, rainy, windy night at McElroy Field.

"Like I just told them, in every playoff run there are tough games,'' Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "Once you get past the first round the games are going to be tight and everybody who's left has found ways to win games.

"We expected a tough game today and we're just glad to advance. We didn't play our best but we played good enough to win.''

FC1S1xiX0BMcb4nWashburn Rural soccer coach Brian Hensyel talks to his Junior Blues after Thursday's 1-0 win over Wichita East in a regional final. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

After a scoreless first half the 17-0-0 Junior Blues got the only goal of the night on an own goal off a corner kick from sophomore Benett Hallauer early in the second half.

"Wichita East is a great program,'' Hensyel said. "Last year we had to beat an undefeated Wichita East in the quarters and we had a really tough game with them here three years ago, so they're a traditional team who's used to winning and we knew they'd come in here and play well,

"They had a good plan to kind of lock in on defense and I didn't think we played great in the first half. We didn't have much energy in the first half. The second half against the wind was outstanding. We moved the ball pretty well and created a set play and got a goal off of it.''

While scoring opportunities were limited for Washburn Rural they were basically nil for Wichita East, which finished its season 9-8-1.

"The best part was when the wind picked up and the pressure was on, our defense didn't allow a shot basically the entire game,'' Hensyel said. "We basically, in terrible conditions, didn't give a team a shot and that's pretty tough to do.''

Senior Wyatt Arnold posted the shutout in goal for the Junior Blues.

Washburn Rural will be back at home next Tuesday for the Junior Blues' quarterfinal game, vying for a berth in the 6A state tournament Nov. 5-6 at the College Boulevard Activity Center in Olathe.

Quarterfinal pairings will be released after the conclusion of all the regional finals.


Wichita East (9-8-1) 0 0 -- 0

Washburn Rural (17-0-0) 0 1 -- 1

Washburn Rural -- Goal: Own goal. Assist: Benett Hallauer Shutout: Wyatt Arnold