A rivalry is always better when both teams are playing at a similar level.
Junction City fielded its best team in program history on Tuesday, for Manhattan High’s home finale at Anneberg Park.
After a tight battle with the Blue Jays, the Indians put the game away late 4-2.
But MHS coach Mike Sanchez said his first experience as head coach in the rivalry lived up to its billing.
“It was a tough game, they were ready, we were ready and it definitely lived up to the hype,” he said. “I was looking forward to it all day, I’ve seen it on the boys’ side but haven’t on the ladies, and it was interesting. We got up 2-1 and they tied it and we put it away with two goals. Our girls wanted it.”
The Indians scored early with a goal from Par McNair off a corner kick from Annissa Durar with 33 minutes to play.
Bailey Snyder made it 2-0 with 7:40 to play in the first half off a pass from Willie Stockton. Junction City scored on a free kick with 3:49 to play in the half.
Junction City tied it up with 36 minutes to play in the game, and the Indians took the lead back three minutes late on a kick from Snyder from about 18 feet out.
Onyeka Ehie put the game away for Manhattan with 16 minutes left.
Sanchez said Junction City deserved a lot of credit for how close the game was.
“I give credit where credit is due, they’ve come a long way from what I understand,” he said. “Credit to them and the job they’ve done in Junction City.”
Sanchez said it was also an important game for his team as it looks to lock up the No. 2 seed in its region.
“It was a good game, it was basically a battle for the second seed in our region,” he said. “It was a really big game for them as well because this is the most that’s ever been on the line for them in this game.”
The Indians gave freshman goalkeeper Molly Fiser her first career varsity start on Tuesday, and Sanchez said he was happy with the performance he saw out of her.
MHS celebrated the careers of five seniors on Tuesday, including Rotem Arieli, Durar, Amy Stockton, Ehie and Myranda Richardson.
The Indians will head out on the road on Thursday, playing at Shawnee Heights in the final game of the regular season.