Lightning struck twice in a matter of seconds for Kansas City Kansas Community College's unbeaten women's soccer team Wednesday
Two goals in the span of 45 seconds earned the Blue Devils a 2-0 win over arch-rival Johnson County and the Jayhawk Conference East championship – the college's first. "We're going to get a banner," said an excited Blue Devil forward Corrine Hughes.
Vaulting up to No. 6 in the latest NJCAA DI rankings, the win was the 11th in a row for the Blue Devils and put them in position to wrap up the Region VI championship with a home win over Hutchinson Saturday (2 p.m.) or at Coffeyville a week from Saturday.
Scoreless through the first half, the Blue Devils struck with a flurry. Freshman Katarina Oelschlaeger broke the 0-0 deadlock when she fought through a scramble to drive a shot just inside the right post at 36:26. Just 45 seconds later at 34:49. Maddy Broeker took a pass from Kayley Pedersen from in front of the goal and her kick got past a diving Cavalier goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
"We've been notorious for scoring in bunches," said KCKCC Coach Shawn Uhlenhake. "We got the first goal out of a scramble and then came right back down the field with a good finish for the second one."
The Blue Devils got an outstanding performance from freshman goalkeeper Susie Lopez, who had a couple of spectacular diving and mid-air saves in the first half and then blunted every Cavalier challenge in the second half. It was the seventh shutout of the season for Lopez and backup Mia Tomasic, who have allowed only five goals all season.
"Lopez had a great game," said Uhlenhake. "She's very good at making reaction saves. Anything in front of her, she'll get. And the defense has done a good job of protecting Susie and Mia, not allowing a lot of shots by getting in the way of the ball and blocking shots. No one is getting wide open shots; everything is being challenged."
The Blue Devil lineup has pretty much been intact this season with Jaidyn Yingling, Paige Liston, Katrina Sargent and Grace Runyon on the back line; Melissa Siegel, Kaylee Shaw and Pedersen at midfield; and Hughes, Oelschlaeger and Broeker at the forwards.
Uhlenhake said the win was "More of a relief than anything. The last two years our goal has been to win conference. Soccer is the only sport without a banner in our building. With so many games in the first week (4), I could not tell our players how important each game was but they've responded well. But I didn't expect to be 11-0."
The Blue Devils' final two games will be against the two teams that are second in the two divisions. Hutchinson (5-3-2) trails Cowley (9-1-1) in the West while Coffeyville (7-3) is KCKCC's closest pursuer in the East.