MAIZE, Kan.—By the time the state quarterfinals roll around, the time for dominating, school record breaking, performances is supposed to be over. With the competition whittling itself down, goals are supposed to be at a premium and teams are looking for that one, hard-to-come-by game winner to make it to state.
But for Maize forward Whitney Lucas, the state quarterfinals was as good a time as any to pick up a new school record six goals in an 8-0 blowout over Wichita North.
“Tonight my midfielders were finding me in a good place,” said Lucas. “That’s what’s been really propelling us through this season, and that’s what’s been helping me out.”
From the opening kick, the Eagles dominated the possession, using calculated ball control to not only press the attack, but to keep the ball away from North for the vast majority of the game.
“Our offense goes against our defense every day,” said Maize head coach Jay Holmes, “and gets challenged by our backs in practice. Those girls have good chemistry. They have played together now, collectively as an offensive group, for the last two or three years. I think that has really made a difference.”
With Maize bombarding the net, the North defense was able to protect the net for about the first quarter of the game. But Lucas pounded the ball in the back of the net for the first time with an assist from midfielder Madison Holmes to reward the Maize ball control with a 1-0 lead with almost 24 minutes left in the half.
As long as it took Lucas to pick up her first, the wait for her second was nonexistent. Just 50 seconds later she booted another one into the North net for a 2-0 Maize lead, and the snowball was set in motion.
Once the goals started going in, it was over for the Redskins. Lucas scored two more to give Maize a 4-0 lead with 11 minutes left in the half. Shortly after the fourth goal, Lucas tied the school record with her fifth, and perhaps best most spectacular goal of the game.
“I thought it was too high for me to do anything else so I just stuck my head in there,” said Lucas. “At first I couldn’t tell (if I could get to it), but once I saw it go in I was really happy.”
McKenzie Hartzog picked up her second assist with a cross to the far post that looked like it might sail over Lucas’ head. But the forward elevated far above the defense to get a solid strike on the ball with her forehead, to tie the school record for goals in a game with nearly eight minutes left in the first half.
Lucas broke the record halfway through the second half with another header, this one on a corner kick, and followed it up with a celebratory cartwheel, stamping the record performance in an 8-0 win to advance to the semifinals against No. 2 Blue Valley West.
“I told the girls at the end of the game that our work is just now beginning,” said Holmes. “We have gone (to state) the last couple of years and haven’t been that competitive. I really want them to step it up and play at a different level when we go up there this weekend.”
Olathe East will take on Wichita Northwest in the other state semifinal game.
Click here to see complete brackets