Manhattan High girls’ soccer passed its first postseason test with ease Tuesday night, as it blasted by Wichita Southeast 10-0 at Bishop Stadium.
The Indians (13-3-1) faced little resistance from the Buffaloes, who were unable to mount a single shot attempt in their season finale.
Meanwhile, Manhattan’s assault was non-stop. It tallied 35 total shot attempts, with 25 on-goal.
“We’ve been hitting a lot of pattern plays here lately, so (I wanted to) see those patterns in a game like this,” said Indians head coach Mike Sanchez. “We had some moments. In the final third, we just couldn’t find that final ball.”
Delayney Lunsway scored after the Wichita Southeast goalkeeper deflected another shot attempt to put Manhattan up 1-0 after two minutes, 17 seconds of play.
The Buffaloes (3-13-1) scored on themselves before Adaly Espinoza took a pass and netted a shot from an acute angle to the right of the goal, making it 3-0 with 21:05 to go in the first half.
Marlee Hodges scored twice within 57 seconds, and Emery Ruliffson put one in with 7:33 left in the first.
Morgan Turner and Reese Snowden each scored once before halftime. Grace Geisbrecht opened the second half with a goal at the 38:26 mark and Snowden added another one 10 minutes later to end the game by mercy-rule with 28:23 still left on the clock.
The victory was Manhattan’s third mercy-rule win in its past five games, and its fifth straight shutout, having not allowed a goal since May 3.
However, Sanchez doesn’t think his team will have any trouble flipping a switch when it takes on stiffer competition later in the postseason.
“I think they know how to turn it on,” he said. “I think we got tested enough early in the year and had some pretty tough games early on, so we know when we need to kick it in.”
Manhattan is now unbeaten in its last 11 games and has not lost in almost a month and a half. During that stretch, it has won 10 and scored at least four goals six times.
The No. 3-seeded Indians now move on to play No. 6 Derby (11-6-0), which beat No. 11 Liberal 3-1 on Tuesday.
The Panthers are a familiar postseason foe, and it’ll be a matchup about which few involved are particularly enthused.
“It seems like we can’t get away from Derby,” Sanchez said. “Probably over the last six years, we’ve had to play them in the postseason to get anywhere, whether that’s sub-state or state. I know they’re never excited. It’s either them coming here or us going there. It is the way it is. I texted Coach probably last weekend and said, ‘Hey, I think we might face each other again.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, don’t remind me.’”
Manhattan will host Derby in the regional championship at 6 p.m. on Thursday, with the winner moving on to the state quarterfinals next Tuesday.
Sanchez said his team is confident as it looks ahead, with the full expectation of making it to the state tournament in Olathe.
But first: the Derby Panthers.
“We’ll get to train (Wednesday), have a little pregame, and then get ready to come out here on Thursday,” he said. “They’ll be out of school, so they can chill out and relax, hopefully take care of their bodies, rest, get hydrated and come out and play Thursday.”