The Manhattan High girls’ soccer team dominated from start to finish Thursday night against Highland Park, winning 11-0 in a game that could have been even more lopsided without the mercy rule.
The Indians were on pace to score far more than the 10-goal lead needed to end the game, but slowed things down after taking a 7-0 lead less than halfway through the first period. Manhattan instead opted to work on its possession, while waiting for halftime to arrive and signal the end of the match.
“We were trying to be good sports,” Manhattan head coach Mike Sanchez said. “We had to play a half, regardless of score. We played possession for the last 26 minutes, really. “It’s tough. I think most of their games have been like this. There’s not a whole lot to take away from it. We play it and look forward to Tuesday, with our last home game for our seniors.”
The Indians got a hat trick from Emma Samenus in just her second game of the season after spending most of the year saddled with an ankle injury. Sanchez said despite the low level of competition, he thinks Thursday’s results could be a confidence booster for the senior, as well as some of the team’s reserves.
“It was good for Emma to help bolster her confidence,” he said. “Against Wichita Northwest, she could have had two (goals), but you could just tell she was rusty. So it’s an opportunity to get her minutes.
“And an opportunity for some girls to get additional minutes who wouldn’t normally get as many. But we have 17 on our roster and usually do a pretty good job of getting everybody some time.”
Kelsey Schroll added two goals of her own, with Maddie Taylor, Par McNair, Lola Oppy, Lani Fischer, Reshaun Fadul and even goalkeeper Molly Fiser each scoring single goals in the rout. McNair and Hannah Livsey each had two assists, with Kelsey Schroll and Kelli Stockton each adding single assists.
Fiser started the game in goal before switching positions with Schroll midway through the period, with the two combining for a shutout, though Highland Park didn’t take any shots in the game.
“It’s her once a year opportunity to play in the field,” Sanchez said of Fiser. “It’s a game where Molly gets to come out and do something different, and Kelsey does too.”
Since starting the season 2-4 against a tough early schedule, the Indians have won nine straight heading into the last week of the regular season.
Manhattan has a pair of winnable games on the docket, starting Tuesday with a rivalry match against Junction City at Bishop Stadium on senior night. The Indians wrap up the regular season at Shawnee Heights two days later.
Last year, Manhattan won twice against the Blue Jays but needed at least double overtime to do it each time, with the second meeting in the playoffs coming down to penalty kicks.
“I think they’re always going to give us a tough game,” Sanchez said. “I know their record isn’t like it was last year. They lost a lot of seniors last year, though they still have Cassidy Meadows and Emily Calvetti, who play club with us in the summer and the fall.”
Sanchez said regardless of the Blue Jays’ win/loss record, the game will be emotionally-charged, especially on senior night.
“It’s Junction City vs. Manhattan, so everybody looks forward to that,” he said. “They’re always going to be fired up for that game. The whole JC/Manhattan thing gets them excited.”
Tuesday’s match is set to begin following the JV match, at approximately 6:45 p.m.