By ISAAC DEER
The heavy wind gusts couldn’t blow away Tae Thomas as the Topeka High senior had two goals that helped the Lady Trojans defeat Cair Paravel Latin 4-1 at Hummer Sports Park on a frigid Thursday night.
Thomas’ goals were Houdini-like -- a goal from near the Northeast corner and a goal short of midfield -- that had a huge impact on the victory.
“I’m pretty proud of myself today,” Thomas said. “Of course, I have some things to work on. I need to play a bit quicker and find the open teammate more often, but I’m proud of myself for the good things I did do during the game.
“I’m always looking for the open teammate and the open shot.”
The three-sport athlete scored her first goal with 7:49 to go in the first half and her second goal came with 3:09 remaining in the second half.
“(Thomas) just brings so much energy to this team,” Topeka High coach Derek Snook said. “We moved her around in different positions today, just so we could put her in the best situation possible. She’s not a big talker, but her play and energy she brings to the field is something that everyone feeds off of.
“She’s a fantastic leader and today was fantastic for her.”
Besides Thomas’ two goals, midfielders Avery Zimmerman and Haley Carpenter contributed one goal each in the three-goal victory.
In the last two games, the trio of Thomas, Zimmerman and Carpenter have a combined 11 goals. The Lady Trojans as a team in the two-game span have outscored Highland Park and Cair Paravel, 16-1.
Thomas would stand before her teammates after Thursday’s victory and let everyone know how proud she is of the energy everyone played with.
“We knew (Cair Paravel) was going to be a tough game for us,” Thomas said. “I felt like we were more mentally prepared for this game than others. I felt like going against a tough team brought our energy up. We expected everyone to hustle, carry a heavy amount of energy and play our best. I think the energy was a big part of our win.”
Snook agreed with Thomas and thinks this team can go far if the tge Trojans play the way they did on Thursday night.
It took the Lady Trojans 1:01 to get on the board, with Zimmerman converting a penalty kick to give Topeka High the 1-0 lead.
“The early penalty kick gave us a nice advantage since it was so early,” Snook said. “We’ve had an issue so far this year with our shots just barely missing or having other things not go our way early in games. It was nice for us to be in a good situation like that early.
“Having momentum a minute into the game is nice.”
The strong defense for both teams would prevent anyone from coming close to scoring for 29:25 after Zimmerman’s goal.
Cair Paravel would answer back after the early 1-0 Topeka High lead. Freshman Zahra Lewis was able to separate herself from a group of Trojans and win the battle by kicking in the Lions' first goal of the night.
Topeka High regained the lead as Thomas scored her first goal that would slide over defenders' heads far away from where the goalie was.
Carpenter would end the first half with a goal giving the Lady Trojans a two-goal lead heading into the half.
After halftime, goals were harder to come by. The defense by both teams was exceptional and it made it hard for the offense to come up with anything.
Thomas would drill in her second goal from the deep Northeast corner with 3:09 left in the game.
That final goal from Topeka High would be the dagger in an impressive win.
Topeka High (3-2) will face Topeka West at Hummer Sports Park next Tuesday.
TOPEKA 4, CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 1
Cair Paravel 1 0 – 1
Topeka High 3 1 – 4
Goals: Topeka High – Thomas 2, Zimmerman, Carpenter. Cair Paravel – Lewis.