MHS soccer eases past Grizzlies, 3-0

By Grant Guggisberg

The Manhattan High girls’ soccer team traveled to Wichita for the second time in less than a week, this time for a match with Wichita Northwest on Tuesday evening.

The Indians won 3-0, while dominating possession of the ball and outshooting the Grizzlies, 17-4.

With the wind gusting from the south, Manhattan played against the wind in the first half but managed to take a three-goal lead in the process.

Par McNair got the Indians on the board with a goal on a ball from Aleise Williams seven minutes into the game.

Williams scored Manhattan’s next goal in the 26th minute, with Brooke Henry logging the assist.

McNair struck again just a minute later, also on a ball from Henry, to give the Indians a 3-0 halftime lead.

Once the second half began, Manhattan had the wind at their backs but was forced to deal with a Grizzlies’ defense that played conservative the rest of the way, leading to the scoreless second period.

“It was crazy we came out with a 3-0 lead against the wind,” Manhattan head coach Mike Sanchez said. “Then the second half they sat back and played real defensive, which gave us some troubles, but it was a better overall game for us. We finished some opportunities inside the box — it was more of a complete game for us, which is nice to have.”

Molly Fiser finished the game with a pair of saves in what turned out to be an uneventful night for the junior.

“We never want to say that we hope our goalkeeper gets tested more, but if anything, that’s one thing we’re OK with,” Sanchez said. “But once you get to the postseason, that’s not going to be the case.”

Another encouraging sign for the Indians was the return of forward Emma Samenus from injury. The senior logged 25 minutes in her first game action of the season.

“We got Emma about 25 minutes today, so it was good to work her in and see how that ankle is feeling,” Sanchez said. “It’s not 100 percent quite yet, but now it’s just a matter of getting her into rhythm and also getting her into some fitness. She’s been off that ankle for most of our season. So it’s a new dynamic.

“We definitely missed her ability to be dangerous. Adding her to what we have in our attack, it gives us a four-headed monster coming at you at times.”

Sanchez said he wasn’t surprised Northwest opted to play defense and keep the Indians from adding more goals and risk the score getting out of hand.

“We have the wind and we do have some fast girls up top with Aleise and Brooke and Kelli (Stockton) and Emma,” he said. “Plus you’ve got Par coming through the midfield, so we’ve got speed in the attack, there’s no doubt. We’re not lacking in speed, that’s for sure.

“We dominated the possession and in the second half when we had the wind, they were keeping more girls behind the ball, which made it a challenge to get in behind.”

The Indians host Highland Park on Thursday at 6 p.m. before playing Junction City at home for senior night on May 13. Manhattan travels to Shawnee Heights for the regular-season finale the following Friday.

“For us, we’ve got three more games in the regular season,” Sanchez said. “And it’s the right time to try and start to peak.”

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