Lynx charge thru post-season

By: 
Staff report

Jill Meier/BV Journal 

Chloe Lippert battles for the ball in Saturday’s 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Watertown.

The Lady Lynx soccer team is on a mission to play for a state title, and last week on their home turf, the girls eliminated their first two opponents in post-season play en route to completing the mission. Brandon Valley blanked both opponents, first sending Sturgis packing with a 4-0 loss in the Oct. 6 opening round, and Saturday they tagged Watertown with a 3-0 season-ending blow.
 
The back-to-back victories set the stage for Tuesday’s march into the semifinals – only the second time in program history – against O’Gorman. (Game results will be reported in the Oct. 21 BV Journal.) 
 
“We are really happy with how we are playing right now,” said BV coach Jacob Shoup. “We feel like the team has come together and everyone is understanding their role. We feel we can attack from lots of places on the field and we are doing a really good job of finishing opportunities and limiting our opponents’ opportunities.”
 
Quarterfinals
BV 3, Watertown 0 
 
Saturday’s quarterfinal meeting with the 12th-seeded Watertown Arrows was the first meeting of the season for the two ESD Conference teams. Although scheduled to play this season, COVID concerns at Watertown axed the game. 
 
Once again, Shoup said it took his team some time to get on the board, but was proud of the way they continued to produce one dangerous ball after another, “It was only a matter of time until they broke through.”
 
And break-through they did.
 
To start the scoring, BV senior Payton Smedsrud finished from the top of the 18 off of an assist from junior Gemma Symington. A few minutes later, Symington set up another goal from a backside cross to Kennedy Nuebel, giving the Lady Lynx senior her fifth goal of the year. 
 
And that’s where the score stood heading into the break, which had Shoup and company well on their way to victory.
 
“We felt like we were in control of possession and consistently had them on their heels so we felt good about how we were playing heading into the second half,” the coach said.
 
Although the Arrows didn’t let down, they proved not to be much of a threat against BV’s tight defense led by Mya Chan, Sage Bultje, Tyrese Zacher and Zoey Mandery. Kylie Birath and Ava Mitzel also plugged some good minutes off of the bench to help solidify another shutout for junior goalkeeper Paige Hoeke.
 
The Lynx iced the victory with an Emma Kirlin goal, her 1th of the season. The scoring opportunity was set up when Kirlin took a long cross from Zacher, also a sophomore.
 
First-round playoffs
BV 4, Sturgis 0  
 
The Lynx girls made the most of their homefield advantage in their first-round playoff matchup against the Sturgis Scoopers on Oct. 6.
 
Similar to Saturday’s start, it took BV some time to get their offense rolling, largely because Sturgis packed their defense pretty tight with nearly all 10 girls defending behind the ball to try in their attempt to slow down the Lynx attack.
 
But the Scoopers were unable to maintain the pressure, as BV knocked in two goals before the half. The first came from sophomore reserve Hadley Meier, who had only notched a few shots on goal all season.
 
“It was a fantastic strike with her left foot,” Shoup said, giving BV the 1-0 advantage.
 
Kirlin, who is BV’s leading goal scorer, padded the score off of a corner kick nearly two minutes later to put the Lynx up 2-0 at half. 
 
Lynx fans didn’t have to wait long for the third goal to come. Dictated by Nuebel, the senior added to her goal total two minutes into the second half from a cross from Chan. Kirlin finished it off with her 10th goal of the season off of an assist from Birath.
 
The Lynx out-shot the Scoopers 35-2 in a dominant win to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal meeting with Watertown.
 
Pending the outcome of Tuesday’s semifinal clash with the O’G Knights, the winner will advance to the state finals in Huron on Saturday. Shoup predicts his team will be in for a battle.
 
“They beat us up pretty badly in the regular season but it was only our second game and we were still trying to figure out positions and who we were as a team,” he said. “The girls will play hard and confident and we will see if we can play one more game for a championship.”
 
The state championship is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.
 

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