SMNW routs South for 6A regional title
OVERLAND PARK — Todd Boren has questioned his team’s focus at times this season, but if there’s one thing the Shawnee Mission Northwest boys soccer coach knows, it’s that when the Cougars are focused they’re awfully good.
Boren’s Cougars showed two spurts of solid attention in the Class 6A regional championship game against Shawnee Mission South, and during those spurts they were devastatingly dangerous against the South defense.
Northwest scored in bunches and rolled to a 5-2 victory Thursday night at South District Stadium. In doing so, the Cougars won the regional championship and advanced to Tuesday’s state quarterfinals.
“For us, it’s been an issue of focus,” Boren said of his team’s season. “I think you kind of saw that tonight. We were obviously focused for the first 10 or 15 minutes. We kind of lost it there for about 30 minutes, and then we decided to play some soccer again.”
Northwest came out on fire. The Cougars aggressively attacked the South goal, and they found the back of the net twice in the first seven minutes.
In the first minute, Adam Zoellner slipped a pass through to Logan Knisley who buried a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Jon Sestak fired a cross to Zoellner, who flicked home a goal for a 2-0 lead.
From there, the Cougars’ assault died down while South attempted to rally. The Raiders got on the board midway through the first half when Devyn Simmons scored. The 2-1 score held up through halftime.
South continued to attack during the second half, and the Raiders tied the game in the 58th minute on a goal by Asher Herbet.
After that, the Cougars refocused and took on unstoppable form the rest of the way. They unleashed attack after attack on the South net, routinely feeding the ball to the outside before crashing the box in search of scoring opportunities. Colby Weishaar fed a pass through to Alec Kremers for a goal in the 68th minute that put SMNW on top 3-2.
The attacks continued, and Connor Holman capitalized when he scored in the 73rd minute on a header at the back post after receiving a long, high cross from Kremers.
The final goal came barely two minutes later when Kyle Moore threw the ball in to David Fancher who immediately attacked the South goal. Fancher weaved through multiple defenders while charging at the Raider goalkeeper and then chipped a shot past him and into the net for a 5-2 lead.
Northwest improved to 10-6-2 with the victory. The Cougars were back in action Tuesday at Blue Valley West in the state quarterfinals. Results were unavailable at press time.