By RICK PETERSON
With a ninth straight Class 6A state semifinal berth on the line, Washburn Rural's soccer team left nothing to chance Tuesday night, rolling to a decisive 5-1 quarterfinal victory over Wichita Northwest at McElroy Field.
"That was as good as we've played all year,'' Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "They played the kind of soccer that we want to play, which is using the entire roster, pressuring people and getting our forwards attacking people. Our forwards had their best game of the year.
"Everybody who played forward tonight was awesome and we did everything we wanted to do tonight.''
With Tuesday's win the 14-4-1 Junior Blues advanced to a 7 p.m. semifinal game Friday at Wichita's Stryker Complex against Mill Valley (16-2-1). Rural's Centennial League rival, Manhattan, also advanced to the Final Four, taking a 4-0 win over Garden City. The Indians (12-5-2) will play the 5 p.m. semifinal against Shawnee Mission East (17-2-0).
Friday's semifinal winners will play for the title at 2 p.m. Saturday, following the 12 p.m. third-place game.
Washburn Rural took the lead to stay on a goal from junior Hayley Legg with 31:01 left in the first half and added goals from seniors Maya Hoge and Mackinly Rohn over the final 8:23 of the half to take a commanding 3-0 advantage.
The Junior Blues tacked on goals by sophomore Kate Hinck and junior Brooklyn Tuffley in the second half to open up a 5-0 lead with 14:30 remaining before Wichita Northwest (12-7-0) got on the board with just 2:28 remaining on a goal from junior Merari Flores.
Washburn Rural dropped a 4-0 decision to Mill Valley on April 24, but Hensyel feels good about how his Junior Blues are playing heading into Friday's semifial.
"You want to be playing your best and we just probably had our best performance of the year against a team that knows us really well,'' Hensyel said. "We know we're going to run into some good teams. That's what happens when you get to the last four but we've been there before and we're ready to take it on.''
WASHBURN RURAL 5, WICHITA NORTHWEST 1
Wichita Northwest (12-7-0) 0 0 -- 1
Washburn Rural (14-4-1) 3 2 -- 5
Wichita Northwest -- Goal: Flores.
Washburn Rural -- Goals: Legg, Hoge, Rohn, Hinck, B. Tuffley. Assists: Rohn, Karr.
Hayden takes 2-1 double overtime win over McPherson
Hayden avenged an earlier loss to McPherson in dramatic fashion Tuesday night, with senior Sloane Sims scoring a goal in the second overtime period to give the Wildcats a 2-1 win over the Bullpups in a Class 4A-1A state quarterfinal game at McPherson.
With Tuesday's win, the 11-5-2 Wildcats advanced to a 7 p.m. state semifinal at De Soto to face perennial state power Bishop Miege (12-7-0). Baldwin (14-5-0) will face Wichita Trinity (10-8-0) in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday's semifinal winners will play for the state title at 2 p.m. Saturday, following the 12 p.m. third-place game.
McPherson, which took a 1-0 home win over Hayden in the regular season, took a 1-0 lead just six minutes into Tuesday's game and held that advantage until Hayden tied the game 10 minutes into the second half on a goal from senior Briahna Barnett.
The game remained deadlocked until Sims came up with the game-winner in the second OT.
Hayden will face a Bishop Miege team on Friday that is coming off a 6-1 quarterfinal win over Cair Paravel Latin.
Miege is the six-time defending 4A-1A state champ while Hayden won the championship in 2015.