When Jennifer Then set up for a game-tying penalty kick against Washburn Rural on Thursday, Manhattan High girls’ soccer coach Mike Sanchez simply couldn’t bare to watch.
“I turned around and didn’t watch the PK because I didn’t want to see it,” he said. “I was just going to wait until the reaction from the crowd and the players. I didn’t want to watch it.”
Then knocked the goal in with 16:16 to play in regulation and the both teams played to a 1-1 tie after two OT periods at Anneberg Park.
After a scoreless first half, the Junior Blues broke the game open with a goal from inside the goal box with 27:37 to play in the game.
But the Indians got a big chance to tie the game when the Junior Blues were called for a hand ball in the goal box, setting up a penalty kick for Then.
Sanchez said the team turned the game around late in the second half after getting off to a slow start.
“The only thing for us is we can’t wait until we get down to put the pressure on,” he said. “We came out a little flat at the start, but I know it’s a big game for all of us and they turned it on late.”
The draw gives the Indians a 3-1-1 record on the season and they remain unbeaten in Centennial-League play. Sanchez said it was obvious that Washburn Rural was a good team, but he gave his team due credit for having the chance to win.
“They are a quality team and a lot of credit goes to them and the effort they put out, and a lot of credit goes to our girls,” he said. “They worked hard, they battled back, we switched the formation to catch them on their heels and it worked. It put more pressure on them and we took advantage of it.”
With the changing temperatures and the wet weather of the past few days, the field at Anneberg Park was cold and wet. With girls starting to get tired in the overtime periods, Sanchez said goalkeeper Kristen Thompson was key in making several key saves.
“She did a good job, and she is doing a lot better and talking to the girls in front of her to make sure our defense isn’t flat,” he said. “She really was solid in the extra time for us.”
The Indians will have three games next week, and will play at home on Monday and Thursday.