For the first time in the 8-year history of women's soccer, Kansas City Kansas Community College is headed to the NJCAA DI women's soccer playoff berths – thanks to yet another milestone win.
A 2-0 win Friday cemented the Blue Devils' first ever sweep of arch-rival Johnson County and assured the playoff berth with two games still to go – at Allen County Wednesday and a season-ending home clash with Coffeyville Sunday afternoon, Oct. 20. Still on the line is clinching a home playoff berth and an outside chance of overtaking league-leading Cowley College,
A sweep of the final two games and two Cowley losses in the Tigers' final three games would vault KCKCC into a tie for the Jayhawk Conference championship. Cowley (8-1) leads the league followed by KCKCC (7-3), Butler County (5-3-1), Coffeyville (5-4), Johnson County (5-5), Neosho County (1-6-1) and Allen County (0-9).
The Blue Devils did all their scoring against JCCC in the final five minutes of the first half. Freshman Kayley Pedersen of SM West scored on a free kick from outside the box on a shot that just cleared a leaping JCCC goalkeeper Isabelle Joseph with 4:12 left and. freshman Madison Broeker of Lincoln, Neb., followed with a with a breakaway goal with 1:06 remaining in the half.
"We played well," said KCKCC assistant coach Sara Matthews, who has taken the coaching reins while head coach Shawn Uhlenhake recovers from major surgery. "Kayley Pedersen not only scored but shut down a lot of JCCC's attack before it got to the back line and was able to play balls through to our forwards. Maddy Broeker also provided a lot of energy to the front line and Tina Alvarez stepped up to provide quality minutes in the midfield."
KCKCC got a stellar effort from goalkeeper Jaidyn Takaishi and the Blue Devil defensive back line of Paige Liston, Sydney Guerra, Katrina Sargent and Alex Schemmel. A freshman from Olathe North, Takaishi had six saves on 10 Cavalier shots. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils got off 14 shots against two JCCC goalkeepers.
"I am so very proud of this group," said Matthews. "Our young program's goal over the last couple of years has been to make the playoffs for the first time. But we can't lose focus on our preparation every day. This season is not over. We have a chance to host a playoff game so we need to keep our sights on one day at a time."
Ranked No. 17 in the United Soccer Coaches national rankings, the Blue Devils boosted their overall record to 10-3. "What's important now is how we go out and earn our successes," said Matthews. "The season is a grind for every team and while we've had our ups and downs, we have shown the competitive heart to win close games. We've become a force to be reckoned with and we can't wait to grow the program even more."