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Rural soccer rolls to eighth straight 6A final four berth with 8-0 shutout

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Washburn Rural's girls soccer rematch with Wichita Northwest quickly turned into a mismatch, with the Junior Blues advancing to the Class 6A state semifinals for the eighth straight time with an 8-0 rout in Tuesday's quarterfinal contest at McElroy Field.

FTkfAJlWIAMDvE0Washburn Rural senior Hunter McWilliams (left) battles Wichita Northwest's Raylen Grant in Rural's 8-0 win in Tuesday's Class 6A state quarterfinal game. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

FTkefDjXwAEdy5bWashburn Rural senior Reagan Allen had a goal and an assist in the first 9:01 of the Junior Blues' 8-0 win over Wichita Northwest in Tuesday's Class 6A state quarterfinal. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Rural (16-2-1) will take on Olathe Northwest (14-4-1) in Friday's 5 p.m. state semifinal at the College Boulevard Activity Center followed by a 7 o'clock semifinal between Blue Valley West (14-3-1) and Manhattan (15-3-1).

The state championship game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday, following the 12 o'clock third-place game.

"Every team out there is able to beat us, but we're also able to beat them,'' said Rural senior standout Belle Kennedy, who had two goals and two assists in the game.

The Junior Blues and Wichita Northwest had battled to a 1-1 tie in the regular season, but Tuesday was all Rural after the Junior Blues took control with two goals over the first 9:01 of the game.

"The bigggest thing was just coming out strong,'' Kennedy said. "Once we immediately put them back on their heels we took control of the game.''

Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said his team learned a valuable lesson from the earlier tie.

"Wichita Northwest last time came up here and had a really good performance and we didn't play well and that was the result,'' Hensyel said. "I think it might have been the best thing that happened to us though. It's kind of woke us up since then and we certainly were really, really focused on the game tonight..''

Washburn Rural scored the only goal it would need at the 33:19 mark of the first half on a shot from senior Reagan Allen off a pass from Kennedy.

Kennedy made it 2-0 off an assist from Allen at the 30:59 mark and the Junior Blues were off and running.

Rural took a 3-0 advantage on a goal from senior McKenna Merrick off a pass from junior Karsyn McMaster (23:51) and junior Mackinly Rohn gave the Junior Blues a commanding 4-0 lead with just 41 seconds remaining before halftime. 

The Junior Blues got second-half goals from Kennedy, Rohn, freshman Delaney Hill and sophomore Hayley Legg and assists from Rohn, Kennedy, Legg and freshman Katelyn Hinck.

Junior Hailey Beck and sophomore Mackenzie Flood combined for the shutout in goal for the Junior Blues.

Rural, third in 6A last season, will face an Olathe Northwest team in the semifinals that the Junior Blues beat 2-0 in their fourth game of the season.

Blue Valley West enters the state tournament as the four-time defending 6A champion.

"I'm anxious, but I'm so excited,'' Kennedy said. "I promised Hensyel since freshman year after we lost against Blue Valley West that I was going to try as hard as I could (to get a championship). I'm trying as much as I can right now and I think the team is putting in the same amount of efffort. I just really want to win.''

WASHBURN RURAL 8, WICHITA NORTHWEST 0

Wichita Northwest (10-8-0) 0 0 -- 0

Washburn Rural (16-2-1)     4 4 -- 8

Washburn Rural -- Goals: Kennedy 2, Rohn 2, Allen, Merrick, Hill, Legg. Assists: Kennedy 2, Allen, McMaster, Rohn, Legg, Hinck. Shutout: Beck, Flood.