The soccer ball moves quickly from player-to-player and side-to-side. The only time the ball stops is when a Maize player shoots the ball in the goal.
Whitney Lucas and Abby Cinotto each scored two goals to spark unbeaten Maize’s girls past Hutchinson High 6-0 Tuesday at Hutchinson.
The Eagles (8-0) have lost in the Class 6A state soccer semifinals the past five years. They’ve lost to the eventual state champion four times.
They feature a combination of offensive balance, speed and excellent teamwork that coach Jay Holmes believes might push Maize past the state semifinals.
“This is a team that we hope can break through,” Holmes said. “It was an outstanding team effort. Our goal is to control possession. They did a nice job finding the windows and playing through their defense.”
Maize’s Lucas opened the scoring off a pass by Tyler Young. Hadley Davis scored the second goal after a pass by Gabrielle Ybarra.
“We prepared for Hutchinson and needed to win to compete for our division title,” Holmes said. “The girls set goals to win the Titan Classic and win our league. This was a good step in that direction.”
Hutchinson (7-2) hung within 2-0 at intermission behind solid goaltending by Hannah Dejmal and defensive stops by Laura Sellers and Baylee Heitschmidt. Carolina Reza also saved a goal by blocking an attempt.
Hutchinson coach Chris Reeves said the Eagles’ balance makes them difficult to defend.
“Name anybody on their roster and there is no weak player,” she said. “You can’t figure out who to shut down.”
Maize’s pressure and a couple of untimely defensive lapses turned the second half into a surprising blowout.
Lucas made a dazzling individual play for a 3-0 lead. Cinotti scored off a free ball when goalie Dejmal dropped the ball after McKenzie’s Hartzog’s attempt. Paige Thompson’s shot was redirected by Cinotti for a 5-0 lead. Madison Holmes tallied off a nice assist by Lucas for a 6-0 final.
“We played them well that first half,” said Hutchinson coach Reeves. “We stacked the middle and the team executed our game plan. We gave up some goals that they probably shouldn’t have gotten. Once that happened, the score snowballed on us.”
Hutchinson’s Jordan Downing and Erinn Penny worked deep into Maize’s defense a couple of times. Hutchinson’s Downing fed a pass to Penny for the Salthawks’ best scoring chance against goalie Bailey Shupe.
“We didn’t generate a whole lot of offense,” Reeves said. “We needed to make the most of our opportunities. Offensively, we played too much defensive-minded the first half. We needed to make them harder on defense. We didn’t work like we needed as a unit.”
Hutchinson plays at home Thursday against Salina South. Maize plays Campus at home Thursday and Wichita Heights at home Friday.
“We don’t like to lose and they are a competitive team,” Reeves said. “They’ll bounce back.”