The Highland Park girls soccer team played itselt into a Class 5A regional playoff spot on Tuesday after a convincing 5-0 victory in Monday's play-in match against Meadowlark Conference foe Washington at Hummer Sports Park.

DeLaCruzHPHighland Park freshman Dana Chavarria Delacruz (center) recorded a three-goal hat trick in Monday's 5-0 win over KC-Washington at Hummer Sports Park. [Photo by Isaac Deer/TSN]

HiParksoccerjubeHighland Park's soccer team celebrates Monday's 5-0 Class 5A play-in win over KC-Washington at Hummer Sports Park. [Photo by Isaac Deer/TSN]

The Scots snapped their four-game losing streak at the right time.

After facing some struggles near the end of the regular season, Highland Park (6-10-0) defeated Washington for the second time this season and is locked in for a playoff match Tuesday night against St. James Academy.

It's been an up-and-down season for Highland Park, with many lessons learned along the way. However, with most of the squad learning how to play the game of soccer this campaign, they've been rewarded for their hard work with a match in the postseason.

"Overall, most of our senior class has three years of playing experience, while some of the team had never played before until this year," Highland Park coach Colin Moriarty said. "Earlier in the season, we also dealt with many injuries. So we are still figuring out how things work with this team.

"Once we got to the middle of the season, things started clicking, and our confidence started growing. With what we dealt with and how young we are, we may have gotten two wins in the past, but we are growing now.''

The year has been constructive for Highland Park. At one point this season, the Scots had a three-game winning streak against conference schools Washington, Wyandotte and JC Harmon.

Highland Park faced Washington again in a rematch in the play-in round to advance to the opening round of 5A regional play. The last time Highland Park played Washington was a 2-1 match that went down to the wire.

Monday night wasn't close, and Highland Park was boosted by its stellar offense to a 5-0 shutout win.

"A shutout is great for us," Moriarty said. "They don't come too often for us. Just to see our team grow to the point where hopefully this could become a regular thing would be great. Our goal is to make our goalie bored. We want our team to keep the ball on the opponent's side of the field."

Freshman Dana Chavarria Delacruz led the offensive attack for Highland Park, earning a hat trick for the Scots.

"We feel so much better when we are working together instead of trying to accomplish things on our own," Delacruz said. "As a team, I feel like we did really well with everything today. We had a great connection with good passing.

"I'm really proud of how we scored and played today. We are playing really strong. All we need to do is keep going. We need to keep our energy up for tomorrow. We can't be individuals; we need to play as one."

In addition to the three-goal day from Delacruz, Highland Park had goals from freshman Taniyah Barnett and senior Zuly Hernandez.

The midfield kept the ball on Washington's side of the field for most of the game, limiting Washington to a small number of shots in between the pipes.

Freshman Josey Tchatoky earned a clean sheet with no goals allowed in the shutout.

Highland Park will travel to Lenexa for a date with St. James Academy (14-2-0) tomorrow at 6 p.m.

"The biggest thing for our team is to carry the energy over from today to tomorrow," Moriarty said. "We're turning things around with our confidence, so if we can keep the energy and intensity up, we will improve. I want them to give me their best."


Washington (2-15-0) 0 0 – 0

Highland Park (6-10-0) 4 1 – 5

Highland Park -- Goals: Delacruz 3, Barnett, Hernandez. Assists: Bermudez, Barnett, Delacruz. Shutout:Tchatoky.

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