Although the Junction City Lady Jays soccer team fell to Wichita Classical 4-1 Tuesday night, JC head coach Mitchell DeHoff saw an encouraging second half from his team. And that stellar second-half performance translated into a Thursday night win over Wichita West High School.
“We found some things during halftime, and were able to play a really good second half against Wichita Classical,” DeHoff said. “It was good to see them be able to take what they did in the second half and continue that today.”
On a rainy night at Al Simpler Stadium, the Lady Jays were eager to garner their first win of the season in front of their home fans. Laura Campbell was able to strike first for the Lady Jays, as she put one in the back of the net with 24 minutes remaining in the first half. The Lady Pioneers retaliated just three minutes later after bouncing a shot in off the post to tie the game up at one goal apiece going into halftime.
Coming out of the halftime break, Maja Bellika was able to put the Lady Jays back on top with a goal of her own. Playing defensively, and trying to keep Wichita West out of scoring reach, the Lady Jays were trying to hold on and come out victorious. But, with six minutes remaining, the Lady Pioneers struck gold and tied it up as the two teams headed to overtime.
“Kind of felt in that second half (like) we scored the second to go ahead, and we had about 10-15 minutes where we were looking really good going forward,” DeHoff said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t find a third, or even a fourth, goal during that time and really put it out of distance. Unfortunately, we let them stay around, and they ended up getting it back right before the end. We started pushing it after that; couple opportunities right before the end of the game and then halftime golden goal, you just have to go after it.”
They were set to play two 10-minute sessions of overtime, golden goal. In the first half of overtime, no one was able to put one in the net, going into the final portion of the game. In the second frame, the Lady Jays got a well-executed corner kick from Laura Campbell. After the ball bounced a little bit in the West box, Maja Bellika was able to punch one in to have the Lady Jays soar to victory. DeHoff explained the mentality the Lady Jays had going into the overtime period.
“You got two 10 minutes — 20 minutes — and go for it; attack,” DeHoff said. “Get anything in the middle in front of the goal and let’s put one away. Just a great corner kick dropped exactly where we wanted, as a great ball. The ball bounced around a little bit; just a great shot to put it away and win the game.”
Spirits are very high on the team, according to DeHoff, and players will look to carry that momentum into next week when they will have three games.
“Three games where we should have the opportunity if we play well, to score some goals and potentially win,” DeHoff said. “We are looking forward to next week and just attacking the rest of the season.”