WICHITA — The Manhattan High girls’ soccer team knew each of the four teams at state this weekend earned its way there by being the best.
After a pair of tough losses in the Class 6A final four soccer playoffs, the younger Indian players now have a little incentive to play their way back next season.
Manhattan lost to Maize in Saturday’s consolation game 5-0 after losing 3-0 in Friday’s opener to Blue Valley North.
“For us, it’s motivation to come back and have a little better performance,” Manhattan coach Mike Sanchez said. “We also have some young talent coming in, but we lose some quality seniors. It will be a challenge.”
With a brisk wind blowing to the North end zone at the Wichita Heights Athletic Complex, wind became a huge factor, as the Eagles took a 1-0 to halftime playing against the wind, and scored four goals in the second half once they had it at their backs.
“We tried to go with the wind in the first half to try and take advantage of it,” Sanchez said. “We had opportunities, but I don’t think we capitalized enough with the wind. Maize did a good job, they played well and they fought. Our girls did too, it was a tough battle.”
Typically in consolation games at state, motivation can be a factor after the dream of a state title ends the day before. Sanchez said his team still had plenty on the line, though.
“We just talked about coming out and it being the seniors’ last game,” he said. “We wanted to leave it all out here for 80 minutes and leave the field knowing they gave it their all. We still had something to come out and play for. You have to hold your head up high, because it takes a lot of work to get to the final four in 6A.”
Maize got its first goal with 13 minutes to go in the first period when Hadley Davis found the back of the net off a corner kick by Paige Thompson.
The two teams continued to play close until Maize stated pouring it on 11 minutes into the second period.
The Eagles scored three goals in less than four minutes to take a commanding lead and deflate any chance of an Indians comeback.
After the game, Sanchez told his team it had plenty to be proud of after a 14-6 record.
“Today just wasn’t our day,” Sanchez said. “They should be proud of themselves. They have three Centennial League titles, four regional finals, two final four appearances. That’s a pretty nice resume to end your high school career with.”
Sanchez said the senior group will be tough to replace, but the group that returns will have a state return high on their list of goals.
“For them I hope they use it as motivation to get back here,” he said. “Every year we want to be back here. Last year we were a game away from being here after they went three years ago. We want to win Centennial, win our regional final game and get back here every year.”
BV NORTH 3, MANHATTAN 0
The Indians found themselves in the consolation game Saturday after dropping their state opener to Blue Valley North Friday night.
After a scoreless first half, the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead about 15 minutes into the second period, before scoring a second off a free kick to make it 2-0.
“Molly had a bead on it, but they put it somewhere you can’t get to,” Sanchez said. “It was a nice shot.”
North got its third goal near the end of the game as the Indians did their best to play aggressively and get on the board.
“We tried to be a little more aggressive there and give ourselves the chance to advance, and just got caught a little bit,” Sanchez said.
Manhattan’s game plan was to try and slow down forward Parker Roberts. It worked, but the Mustangs adjusted and found ways to score in the second period.
“We wanted to frustrate her a little bit because we knew a lot of what they do goes through her,” Sanchez said. “We wanted to make the game harder for her, and we did that.”