Powerhouse Timberwolves spoil T-Birds' soccer opener with 10-0 romp


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There are a lot of parts of sports that can be controlled, one that cannot be controlled is who you play, for good or bad. For Shawnee Heights soccer it was the latter as the T-Birds opened the season with a 10-0 loss to Class 5A powerhouse Blue Valley Southwest.

LailahBenzShawnee Heights sophomore Lailah Benz (2) tries to find operating room in Tuesday's 10-0 season-opening loss to Blue Valley Southwest. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

EmilyLoyShawnee Heights senior Emily Loy (35) races after a loose ball in Tuesday's 10-0 season-opening loss to Blue Valley Southwest. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

"It's just a hard first game to start the season, but we know where we’re at, we’ve got a measuring stick to know where we can go from here,” said Shawnee Heights coach Kellen Griffin. “I’ve got a lot of great leaders from the seniors and the captains and even some of the juniors and sophomores that were on the team on varsity last year so I don’t think it’s going to affect us in (a bad) way.”

The Thunderbirds bring 11 seniors into the season from a team that went 13-5-0 last season as well as sophomores Lailah Benz and Isabell Van Fleet who were both first-team All-United Kansas Conference selections in 2022.

However, they were unable to generate a shot on goal against the strong Timerwolves defense, something Griffin is confident will change going forward.

“The good thing is they’ve got a base style of play from where we were at last year, but now it’s something we can build on more because we don’t have to review everything,” Griffin said. “So we got a starting point already and we can kind of build upon that and adjust as we go forward throughout the season.”

Jumping right into the deep end of the schedule did allow for immediate observation for Griffin, and reinforced year-long goals and strategies that aren’t accomplished in match number one.

“I learned where some of our girls are at in terms of development from last year to this year,” Griffin said. “We are going to have measuring sticks in terms of where our team is at compared to some of the other opponents we face and we just need to make sure we are building the entire season so that way we are playing the best soccer at the end of the season.”

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Washburn Rural soccer kicks off season with 3-0 shutout over De Soto

Rick Peterson

By Rick Peterson

Due to success in other sports, it took awhile for Washburn Rural's girls soccer team to get its entire team together, which was absolutely fine with Junior Blue coach Brian Hensyel.

IMG 9804Washburn Rural senior Mackinly Rohn puts Rural's second goal in the net after rebounding her penalty kick attempt in Tuesday's 3-0 season-opening win over De Soto. [Photo by Trevor Falcon/Special to TSN]

IMG 9812Senior Mackinly Rohn is congratulated by her Washburn Rural teammates after scoring a goal in Rural's 3-0 win over De Soto. [Photo by Trevor Falcon/Special to TSN]

And getting a late start to preseason preparations wasn't a problem in Tuesday's season-opener, with Rural posting a 3-0 non-league win over De Soto at McElroy Field.

Washburn Rural senior Addi Broxterman and sophomores Delaney Hill and Ashley Schwarz joined Rural soccer's team on the run after helping the Junior Blues win the Class 6A-5A  state wrestling championship while senior Brooklyn DeLeye and sophomore Kate Hinck got a late start after helping Rural finish second in the 6A state basketball tournament.

Senior goalkeeper Hailey Beck also missed preseason due to an injury but all six players turned in quality minutes in Tuesday's win, with Broxterman scoring Rural's first goal of the season while Hill and DeLeye were credited with assists and Beck combined for a shutout in goal. 

"The spring sports season is always unique because unlike the fall it overlaps with the successes of the other seasons,'' Hensyel said. "And spring break was last week and some people are here and some aren't, so the first three weeks you're always trying to accomplish as much as you can but you know you're probably not going to be completely ready to play.

"Even though we have a lot to work on getting them all yesterday for the first time, for each of them to come out tonight and beat a good De Soto team was really a positive. It's always kind of a mess at the beginning but we're a work in progress.''

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