By Sam Jack
The Goddard Lions girls soccer team beat the higher-seeded Valley Center in the first round of regionals, 1-0 on May 17, before losing 6-0 at Maize South on May 19 to conclude the season.
Lions head coach Josh Hansen said his team showed a lot of grit and fight on the way to the Valley Center win. Anjaleena Gomez scored the winning goal, with an assist from Sophie Nguyen, about 12 minutes before the clock ran out on the game.
“We were outplaying in terms of possession that game, but just couldn’t finish our opportunities,” Hansen said. “Finally, we got one on the left side, where Sophie got the ball out wide from Amy Hedden. Then Anjaleena made a run down the line in front of Sophie, and Sophie played the ball through to her. Anji attacked at the goal and just hammered the ball.”
Goalkeeper Emerson Wedel made nine saves during the game.
Hansen felt his players were a bit intimidated at the start of the game versus Maize South. South came in with a 14-1-2 record; Goddard’s record was 11-6-0.
“When you go down versus a team that’s as good as they are, it’s tough to come out of it. I think that really kind of sums it up. But we didn’t quit; we fought all the way through,” Hansen said. “We had a few quality chances that either went over the goal or the goalie made a save. If we’d just gotten one early, that could have changed the momentum.”
The Lions had a young team this year, including five freshman starters and just two senior starters. So Hansen is optimistic about the next couple of years.
“We’re really close. We’re not quite there, but we’ve had a vast improvement from last year,” Hansen said. “We made it to our tournament championship, competed for a league title, had a double-digit win season, and we made it to a regional championship, which Goddard hasn’t been in one in the last five or six years. … We have a solid group this year, and hopefully they carry that forward.”