This is how senior nights are supposed to go.
Playing the regular season finale against rival-Junction City, the Manhattan High girls’ soccer team represented its seniors well in an 8-0 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Bishop Stadium.
Of the Indians’ eight seniors, six had either a goal or an assist as MHS cruised to a win against a Junction City team that rarely brought the ball across midfield.
“It was awesome, especially against Junction City,” senior Par McNair said. “It’s always been a big rivalry and it was nice to kind of cruise through it. We were passing well, we were really composed the whole game — it was really nice.”
The Blue Jays kept the Indians scoreless for the first 12 minutes of the contest, before senior Hannah Livsey found Kelsey Schroll for a goal with 27:24 to play in the first half.
Less than a minute later, Maddie Taylor scored on a ball from Sydney Zafran, scoring the first of three goals from the sophomore.
McNair found Taylor for a goal seven minutes later, before scoring on a breakaway to put the Indians ahead 4-0 with 12:52 left. Taylor completed her hat trick on a pass from senior Zoey Botkin with 34 seconds left in the half.
“She’s a quality player,” MHS coach Mike Sanchez said of Taylor. “She adds a lot to our team. She was a starter last year, starter this year, so she’s a key player for us, along with the other 16 we have.”
Senior Emma Samenus would make it 6-0 less than six minutes into the second half, scoring on McNair’s second assist of the contest.
Samenus said it felt good to score a goal and to actually play after battling injury this season.
“Senior night and everything, I think everyone was ready to take on the rivalry,” she said. “It was fun. It felt really good (to get a goal). I really wanted to get one at least.”
The Indians would wait more than 10 minutes before scoring the next goal, as Kelli Stockton scored on a through pass from Taylor.
Senior Ally Taylor finished off the scoring on a pass from senior teammate Aleise Williams with 10:45 to play.
“It felt really good to score in front of all the fans and against our rivals,” Ally Taylor said. “It was a lot of fun.”
The Indians played well all around, staying on the attack offensively, and keeping the Blue Jays from getting any sort of their own offense going with stingy defense that kept the action at midfield.
MHS goalkeeper Molly Fiser spent the majority of the game standing more than 20 yards away from the goal, and touched the ball more often on passes back to her rather than attacks by Junction City.
“It feels pretty good to only have to touch a couple times,” senior defender Lani Fischer said.
Sanchez said it was nice to see the team play so well and finish the regular season home finale on a high note. The Indians are guaranteed at least one home match and could likely play their way into a second if they secure a top-four seed in their region.
Sanchez thought his team played with an intensity he hopes to see continue into Thursday’s game at Shawnee Heights and beyond.
“Manhattan always get’s excited for the whole MHS, Junction-type game, especially at home - they have a little more to prove,” he said. “That gets them fired up a little bit more. And we looked good in the attack, hopefully we keep that up.”
The Indians celebrated the careers of their eight seniors before the game, including Williams, Allison Taylor, Botkin, Fischer, Samenus, Livsyt, McNair and Lola Oppy before the game.
Sanchez said they are a class that will be special to him, as he gave all of them their first shots as full-time varsity players, most of them during his first season as coach in 2012.
“It’s been a fun, great run,” he said. “(They’re a) special group, I’ll miss them for sure. They’ve got tremendous leadership, they all get along, which has been huge for our success this year. They’re one, big cohesive group, definitely one I’ll miss. I’ve got a lot of love for this group.”