Harrison and McCutcheon soccer fans will get to double their pleasure Saturday with two sectional championship games between the rival schools.
The Raider and Maverick girls made sure of that with victories in the Class 2A semifinals at Harrison High School Thursday night. McCutcheon beat Lafayette Jeff 4-0, while Harrison defeated Twin Lakes 6-0.
The boys from each school reached the Lafayette Jeff sectional final with wins on Wednesday night. The girls will duke it out for their sectional title 4 p.m. Saturday at Harrison.
“This gives us a lot of momentum and confidence for Saturday,” said McCutcheon’s Elizabeth Burton, who scored two goals for the Mavericks in their win over Jeff. “We’re ready to play the best we can and come out with another sectional. Our goal is to win sectionals and keep going. That’s what we’re striving for.”
Katie Musi, who scored two goals and chipped in two assists in the first 15 minutes of Harrison’s victory, said her team wants to avenge an earlier 2-0 loss this season to its rival.
“We’ve been waiting for this since they beat us in season,” Musi said after the Raiders’ win. “We’re capable of beating them, so we’re ready.”
McCutcheon was dominating on offense, getting 15 shots on goal while keeping the ball away from Lafayette Jeff. The Bronchos finished the game without a shot on goal.
Despite that, the Bronchos, behind goalie Kirsten Williams, kept the game close, trailing 2-0 at halftime. Goals by Burton at the 13:17 mark and Koral Briggs with 4:35 left gave the Mavericks the edge.
“We knew that 2-0 is a really dangerous score,” Burton said. “It makes you think you feel like you can win it, but you can also let down and the other team can score, and it can be a momentum changer. So we wanted to get a goal real quick in the second half.”
McCutcheon got it with 29:52 left to play when Cassie Smith booted in a loose ball in front of the goal.
“We knew we had to play a strong defense,” Jeff coach Coleen Hamrick said. “In the second half, when we tried to stretch more offensively, that’s what’s going to happen. We took our chances, but our girls were just champions when it came to hanging in there no matter what the score was.”
Burton scored her second goal with 26:53 left to wrap up the scoring.
“We knew Jeff was going to come out and keep playing hard,” McCutcheon coach Jason Donkersloot said. “We know Harrison very well. Our girls know what they’re doing and they know what the expectation is for them.”
Musi led Harrison’s offensive explosion against Twin Lakes, giving scoring passes to Ryley Bugay and Sydney Rainey and then scoring two goals herself, the last with 26:16 left in the first half to give the Raiders a 4-0 lead.
“Our focus has been getting our outside mids up and getting more offense,” first-year Harrison coach Emily Gonderman said. “In these past two games we’ve been able to do that. Everyone had a great game. From Katie Musi to Mayra Pacheco and our defense, everyone was on top of their game today.”
Twin Lakes could never get anything going offensively as Harrison controlled the ball, limiting the Indians to one shot on goal. Gonderman said her team will have to come up with another solid defensive effort to beat McCutcheon Saturday.
“We going to have a lot more pressure defensively, so we won’t have the luxury of going right into our attacking half,” Gonderman said. “They have some forwards and outside mids that we’ll have to watch and keep in front of us.”