Baldwin girls look for regular-season ending wins to improve regional soccer seed
The streaking Baldwin High School girls soccer team reached another milestone Monday with a 5-1 victory at Ottawa.
The win, the team’s fifth in a row, gave the girls a winning record (5-4-1) for the first time in the program’s brief two-year history.
“One of our goals at the beginning for the season was to have a winning record,” coach Erryn Kindle said. “We kind of dug a hole, but we’ve found a way to come back. Now, we just have to keep it going.”
The team’s turnaround is not a complete surprise, Kindle said. He knew the schedule opened hard and then got easier and also saw what his players could accomplish.
“It’s really up to the girls, because we really could have done this to other teams earlier in the season but we just let the games get away,” he said.
Kindle said the Bulldogs came out aggressive against Ottawa, but let down in the second 20 minutes of the first half, holding a 1-0 lead at the horn.
Baldwin quickly shook the doldrums with the start of the second half, scoring four goals in the first 16 minutes.
“The second half, we played good, solid soccer,” Kindle said. “We came out ready to play. We got our first goal, and Ottawa may have gotten down a little bit and our girls more aggressive.”
Sophomore Sierra McKinney scored three goals in the match, and senior Jessie Katzer added two.
Katzer, who is also on the track team, makes Baldwin a better offensive team when she’s available to play, Kindle said. But he also noted the team is solid defensively in her absence, citing the 1-0 home victory against Tonganoxie.
As for McKinney, her coach said the team’s leading scorer honed her skills on club soccer fields.
“She reads the ball really well and reads players very well,” he said. “She knows when to step back and be more of a defensive forward and knows when to attack. That just come with playing all the time.”
Katzer and McKinney may have been the only Bulldogs to find the net, but they weren’t alone in attacking and getting shots on goals, Kindle said.
“We had attacking trips from four of our players and two were defenders,” he said. “That’s nice to see. We’re finally attacking as a team.”
The Bulldogs will put their winning streak on the line with a 4 p.m. home game Thursday against Basehor-Linwood and play again at home at 4 p.m. Friday against De Soto.
With regional seedings to be handed out Saturday, the two matches will go a long way in determining who, when and where the Bulldogs play when they take the field Monday and Tuesday the first round of the 1A-4A regionals, Kindle said.
He wasn’t sure what teams would be in the regionals. At this point, he is confident his team can compete with any team it draws, adding the players would like to meet one past opponent in the post-season.
“The girls are really hoping to go against Piper,” he said. “They want vengeance for last year and earlier this year.”