While Salina Central may have started the game with the opening kick, it didn’t take long for the Indians to get into a groove.
The Manhattan High girls’ soccer team continued its winning streak to go 3-0 this season on Tuesday evening, beating Salina Central 1-0 at Anneberg Park.
It was the Indians’ solid opening minutes that would define the game and, ultimately, secure the team’s win.
The game’s lone goal came in the fifth minute from Manhattan senior forward Bailey Snyder. The Indians’ attack started with pressure from the team’s right wing. A lofted ball almost perfectly placed into the Salina Central’s 18-yard box from Manhattan junior forward Emma Samenus threw Salina Central’s goalkeeper off and allowed Snyder to sneak in.
Snyder connected with Samenus’ cross and sent the ball into the back of the net.
While the Indians had the lead, and continued to maintain possession in the opening 10 minutes, the Mustangs quickly began to battle back.
“I don’t know if the first goal made us too eager or a little too confident,” Manhattan High head coach Mike Sanchez said. “But we just weren’t as aggressive after we scored.”
By the end of the game the two teams shot counts were close — Manhattan High finished with two shots on goal out of eight total shots and Salina Central finished with three shots on goal out of its four total shots.
Junior forward Par McNair, along with Snyder and Samenus, created scoring opportunities for the Indians. The trio worked together on offense and came close to scoring numerous times.
Manhattan sophomore goalkeeper Molly Fiser kept the Indians in the game with her four saves, the last of which came in the final minutes.
With 9 minutes to play in the game, the Salina Central offense rushed into Manhattan’s 18-yard box. A shot rocketed towards the net and Fiser jumped to punch it away. The Mustangs replied with another shot and Fiser dove backwards to make the save.
Momentum changed after that save, and the Mustangs played the final 10 minutes similar to the opening 10 minutes — maintaining possession and finding goal-scoring opportunities.
“I think they played with a little sense of urgency because they could feel the pressure (Salina Central) put on us late,” Sanchez said. “But in the 4-3-3 (system), we should be a little bit more aggressive getting forward. I think we lacked a lot of discipline today — but a win’s a win and we’ll take it.”
Only three games in, the Indian’s season is still just beginning, and Sanchez said he has confidence his team will become more consistent throughout each game as the season goes on.
“What’s funny is, I think we play better on the road,” Sanchez said. “I don’t know if it’s the ground or the mental thing, or what it is. The one road game we’ve had this season we played a lot better, but we will adjust.”
The Indians travel to Topeka on Thursday evening to take on Washburn Rural at 6:15, and on Saturday the Indians will return home to face Blue Valley-Stillwell at 2 p.m. in Anneberg Park.