Playing its first match at home against Topeka West, the Manhattan High girls’ soccer team got its first win of the season Tuesday night, soundly defeating the Chargers 8-0.
While it wasn’t a complete performance in the eyes of head coach Mike Sanchez, it was close. Manhattan outshot the Chargers 31-2.
“We came out really slow in the first 20 minutes,” he said. “We played real direct, and that’s really not our style of play. But we made some adjustments, Brooke (Henry) was a huge game-changer for us, just in her movement off the ball and the runs she was making really opened up the game for us. And we corrected some things at halftime, so we could come out in our style of play, which is possession with a purpose.”
After taking a 4-0 lead to halftime, the Indians added three quick goals to start the second half to make it 7-0.
Par McNair scored first, kicking it through the legs of Topeka West goalkeeper Bailey Williams on a ball from Kelli Stockton in the third minute of the second half.
Henry scored from Maddie Taylor less than 30 seconds later to make it 6-0, with Sydney Zafran getting a goal deflected by Williams in the 10th minute of the second half.
Aleise Williams scored the final goal of the night on a breakaway, played up by Taylor.
“We came out flat, and you could kind of tell from the warm-ups, so we wanted to make sure coming out of the locker room that wasn’t the case in the second half,” Sanchez said. “We’ve got to get going, the season’s started, we can’t mess around. Out of 80 minutes, we played 60 minutes of solid soccer.”
The Indians got off and running with a goal in the ninth minute by McNair from Kelsey Schroll from 20 yards out.
Manhattan got its second goal from Ally Taylor in the 25th minute, before sister Maddie Taylor made it 3-0 on a goal just 90 seconds later.
Stockton made it 4-0 just before halftime on a breakaway goal, running alongside her defender for 20 yards before firing off the shot past West’s goalkeeper.
Sanchez said one good change was moving Ally Taylor up in the attack midway through the game.
“We slid Kelsey back there so we could slide Ally up, she gives us a different dynamic in the attack in the midfield with her vision,” Sanchez said. “(The defense) wasn’t as composed as we would have liked them to be early on, because our attack starts out of the back.”
Ally Taylor said the team’s early goals helped the team.
“I think our warmup wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be,” she said. “But then we started scoring some more goals and got into it more, and started having more fun.”
Henry said the team’s adjustments helped the Indians secure their first league win.
“I think we played more direct,” Henry said. “Then a little more into it, after the first 20 minutes, we played back a little bit, played more through the middle.”
Looking forward, the Indians travel to Wichita to play Trinity Academy on Friday to start a stretch of tough games in the next 10 days. Manhattan plays Salina Central Monday, Washburn Rural at home on Thursday and Blue Valley Stilwell the following Saturday.
“(Trinity) was in the final four in 4A last year,” Sanchez said. “So if we put people on our schedule, we want them to challenge us and help us prepare for our tough games in the Centennial League and the playoffs.”