Helias has focus on Union’s 44-goal scorer

Tiffany Weaver of Helias tries to control the ball during a game with Visitation Academy this season at the 179 Soccer Park.

Tiffany Weaver of Helias tries to control the ball during a game with Visitation Academy this season at the 179 Soccer Park. Photo by News Tribune.

The Helias soccer team has seen its fair share of prolific goal-scorers this season.

How the Lady Crusaders have fared against them has been a mixed bag.

Helias will get a shot at another one as the Lady Crusaders travel to take on Union in a Class 2 sectional game at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Union Middle School.

“We’re going to make sure she’s marked at all times,” Helias coach Brad Dempsey said of Union’s Bethany Coons, a 44-goal scorer this season. “We were able to do it with (Rolla head coach) Mike Howard’s daughter at Rolla (Nicole Howard, a 30-goal scorer) and we’re hoping we can do it with (Coons).”

Coons, just a sophomore, already has verbally committed to play at Missouri. She’s tallied 23 assists to go with her impressive goal tally and was a 2012 first-team all-state selection after scoring 55 goals last season.

Teaming up with her sister, senior Alyssa Coons, who is next on the team with 18 goals and 22 assists, the duo has led Union to a 17-5 record.

“At some point we’re going to see them both up top, whether we’re in the lead or they’re trying to get a goal,” Dempsey said. “They have great speed. We’ve faced that this year.”

Tiffany Weaver leads Helias (14-8) with nine goals, while Becky Roberts has eight.

Helias gave up five goals to Lee’s Summit West’s Jaycie Johnson (a University of Nebraska recruit) in a 5-2 loss this season, held St. Dominic’s Cristina Rodriguez, the reigning Class 2 Player of the Year, scoreless in a 1-0 loss and kept Visitation Academy’s Jade Klump (a University of Kentucky signee) off the board in a 2-1 defeat.

The Lady Crusaders did manage a pair of wins against Nicole Howard and Rolla, 3-0 in the regular season and 1-0 on Thursday in the Class 2 District 10 title game.

Rolla is the only common opponent for Helias and Union. The Lady Wildcats dropped their game with Rolla 1-0.

Keeping the Rolla theme going, Dempsey said he sees a lot of the Lady Bulldogs in this Union team.

“Not necessarily a possession-style,” he said. “They like to play down the wings, which is good for us, because our wing backs are very strong, as well as our center backs. Our wings are playing really well right now.”

Helias is nearly the exact opposite. The Lady Crusaders use a possession-based attack, keep passes short and try to use through-balls to get behind the defense.

The style of play has often benefited Helias, as the Lady Crusaders have held sizable advantages in possession, shots and shots on goal. The only problem has been a finishing touch at times.

“We have to finish,” Dempsey said. “Early. We can and we should. If we finish early, they’re in trouble. If we don’t, teams settle in against us pretty good. We saw it a lot this season. We lost a good number of games by one goal. We got beat 1-0, we didn’t finish early, teams gained some confidence. Even though we controlled the game, they were confident enough to sit in and defend, kick it long and get one.”

The Helias-Union winner will take on either Republic (18-6) or Carl Junction (18-5) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. With a win tonight, Helias would host that game.

The quarterfinal winner advances to the Final Four, scheduled for May 31-June 1 in Blue Springs. Helias advanced to state last season, taking third. The Lady Crusaders also made apperances in 2000 and 2002, when they finished fourth both times.

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