Despite losing 2-0 to Blue Valley on Saturday, Manhattan defenders Molly Smith and Karmen Martinie thought their team had just played one of its best games of the season.
“I think we were very cohesive this game, and we can take that into future games,” Smith said, “and just fix up the little bits and pieces that are going to make us much better.”
Smith and Martinie said a lot of their development has been because of team talks before practice.
“A lot of it’s been focusing more on focusing more on how you treat yourself in your team as opposed to just playing,” Smith said. “I think everybody in the group has good playing ability, it’s just a matter of bringing it all together.”
The Indians (5-2), fresh off a 2-0 win against Seaman on Friday night, battled through windy conditions in Saturday’s contest.
Manhattan’s defense was strong through the first half, as Blue Valley kept it on the Manhattan side of the field for much of the game.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” head coach Mike Sanchez said. “We switched formations based on personnel, what’s going on with our injury issues. So they’re adapting, and we’re getting there.”
Goalkeeper Emilie Korenek recorded 11 saves on the day.
“You’ve just got to make sure you get back before you worry about the ball, and then you can come forward because it’s easier to come forward than to backtrack,” she said.
The Tigers took advantage of the northern wind just over two minutes into the second half. Abby Garretson was looking to cross, but the ball sailed into the top left corner of the net. Victoria Wilson followed it up with a goal of her own soon after.
Sanchez said Blue Valley did a good job taking advantage of the wind.
“The wind took it and carried it into the goal, but that’s part of the game,” Sanchez said. “The elements, the wind, the cold weather, the rain, those are all part of the game.”
Martinie thought Manhattan could have done a better job taking advantage of the wind.
“We didn’t take shots like Blue Valley did from the outside,” Martinie said.
Manhattan got its biggest opportunity to get on the board about 10 minutes into the half, but midfielder Cailey Perkins’ shot, one of three Manhattan shots on goal, sailed just high of the net.
Sanchez felt his team could have done a better job finding passing lanes throughout the game but thinks the best is yet to come.
“It’s still early,” he said. “We’ve got kids that are battling some early injuries, but we’ll get them healed up and back, and my hope is that we’ll hit stride as we keep progressing.”
Manhattan, which has already lost Hannah Religa and Addy Stone to injury, had a scary moment when Perkins went down with about 25 minutes left. She was helped off the field, and Sanchez doesn’t think the injury will be serious.
“I think that when she tried to play that ball, the way she landed, she just landed on her kicking foot, and her ankle turned over slightly,” he said.
After playing three games last week, the Indians will get some much-needed rest, returning to action on Wednesday against Topeka High.
MHS 2, Seaman 0
Manhattan won its second-straight game on Friday, beating Seaman, 2-0, in Topeka.
Cailey Perkina recorded a goal and an assist, while Sadie Samenus scored a goal and Tessa Irvine picked up an assist.
The Indians picked up their first goal in the first minute of the game thanks to Samenus. Perkins got the assist on the play. Irvine found Perkins for the second goal, which came in the second half.
Emilie Korenek finished with six saves.