Helias beats Rosati-Kain in third-place game

Helias’ Becky Roberts gets ready to deliver a corner kick during Saturday’s Class 2 third-place game against Rosati-Kain in Blue Springs. The Lady Crusaders claimed a 1-0 victory.

Helias’ Becky Roberts gets ready to deliver a corner kick during Saturday’s Class 2 third-place game against Rosati-Kain in Blue Springs. The Lady Crusaders claimed a 1-0 victory. Photo by Tony Hawley.

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Third-place games are a mixed bag, often a listless affair between teams that had their MSHSAA championship dreams crushed the day before.

It didn’t take long to find out that wouldn’t be the case in Saturday’s Class 2 soccer game between the Helias Lady Crusaders and Rosati-Kain Kougars.

The teams put together a rough-and-tumble contest for 80 minutes, with the Lady Crusaders emerging with a hard-earned 1-0 victory at Blue Springs High School.

“What was nice to see was we came out and played that hard,” Helias coach Brad Dempsey said. “It shows character. We talked about that in the locker room. That’s the team we knocked out in the semifinals last year, so I think they wanted to beat us. … We think we proved we were the better team.It was just a grind.”

Despite having the better of play all game, Helias still had just a one-goal lead coming down the stretch. And while the Kougars (14-15) had a few good chances in the waning moments, they were never able to break through with the tying goal, as Sydnee Kliethermes recorded the shutout.

“I wasn’t worried at all,” Dempsey said. “I had complete trust in our defense, subs or starters.

“As a coaching staff we knew the players did everything they could – 1-0, 10-0, it didn’t matter.”

The Lady Crusaders got the only score of the game in the first half after Rosati-Kain was whistled for a foul when forward Tiffany Weaver was taken down in the box. Fellow forward Becky Roberts came in and hammered home the penalty kick with 23:08 left before halftime.

“I just knew I had to put it in and I was confident I was going to,” Roberts said.

Helias held an 8-2 lead in shots at halftime and a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks, but couldn’t get any other scores going into the locker room.

“I think more than being physically tired, when you’re mentally drained it’s hard to focus on where to be next,” Dempey said. “That’s just what happened today. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to or weren’t putting forth the effort, it was just that instead of being here, you’re there.”

And after a hard, pouring rain from the early morning hours until just before game time, the wet field made things interesting as well.

“It was a very physical game, and with the rain the ball skipped a lot, which also made it difficult,” Helias defender Katlyn Cowell said. “But I thought we handled it pretty well.”

The dominance of Helias continued in the second half. The Lady Crusaders upped their advantages in shots to 12-2 in the half and had a 5-0 edge in corner kicks.

With slightly more than 17 minutes left, Helias had one more great chance to score thanks to another penalty kick. After going to the keeper’s left on the first one, Roberts tried to go the other way on the second penalty kick. She ended up going a little too far in that direction, pinging it off the post, and Rosati-Kain cleared away with the rebound.

“The second one, I tried to go the other way because I thought she knew where I was going and overshot it a little bit,” Roberts said.

It didn’t matter, as the Lady Crusaders proved impenetrable on defense.

“(Friday) we went in thinking we might make it to the finals and didn’t, so we just wanted to come out and play hard and end on a good note with a win for the seniors and our coaches,” Helias midfielder Maddie Lammers said. “I was proud of us.”

The Lady Crusaders took their lumps in the win, however, as Scheuler had her left arm stepped on and defender Abby Rockers had her left shoulder pop out of place. But both returned before game’s end, although Scheuler will have X-rays today to see if her arm is broken.

“It was a pretty physical game, but we had a lot of fun and just went out and did what we needed to do,” Scheuler said. “It’s really nice, because it takes all the sadness out of graduating and playing your last game.”

Helias ends its season with a mark of 20-9-1 and will lose a group of seven seniors that includes Scheuler, Roberts, Weaver, Rockers, Jordan Poire, Meghan Nappier and Caitlin Luebbert.

“This senior class is the most decorated in Lady Crusader soccer history,” Dempsey said. “They’ve taken our program to the top level.”

The Lady Crusaders add this third-place finish to a runner-up finish last year and a third-place finish in 2012.

“With the success we’ve had just this year alone, we’re rising to the top,” Dempsey said. “People always say, ‘Helias isn’t what it used to be,’ but come on. We’re climbing.”

Roberts added, closing her high-school career with a win was much better than the alternative.

“I thought we came ready to play,” she said. “We knew we didn’t want to get fourth, because nobody ever wants to get fourth. After losing yesterday, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

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