Summit Christian savors soccer success

Special to the JournalApril 25, 2014 

Even with six games still to play, the Summit Christian Academy girls’ soccer team can already call this season a success.

Besides sporting an 8-2-1 record after winning at Warrensburg 6-3 on April 22, the Eagles can also claim the first tournament championship in their history after capturing the Belton Invitational last week.

With all that success, it’s easy to see why the Eagles are so thrilled as they stay on track for their best season since 2010.

“We are really excited to be 8-2-1,” head coach Amber Siemsen said. “In fact, we all think it’s pretty awesome.”

Even though this is a young Eagles team, it is experienced in competitive play. For the first time in many years all of the girls have competed in club soccer prior to earning a spot on the varsity squad. And that experience has started to show.

After beating Grandview in the first game in the Belton tournament, the Eagles beat Ruskin 12-0 and Pleasant Hill 4-1 in the final April 19.

Siemsen said each match in the tournament offered different challenges for the Eagles.

“We knew going in that Ruskin would give us a chance to work on building depth,” Siemsen said.

The Eagles earned the shut out and were able to play everyone on the team, including all three goalies.

The final against Pleasant Hill marked the second meeting between the teams this season. And Siemsen said the Chicks were a tougher team this time.

“They have improved a lot since we played them a few weeks ago,” Siemsen said. “Pleasant Hill did a very good job of marking our top players.”

The Chicks opened the game with the first goal and forced the Eagles to modify their game plan. Eventually, Summit Christian overcame the deficit with Cassie Ginther scoring three goals and Madison Sallas adding the fourth.

Five different Eagles scored in the first half against Warrensburg as they built a 5-1 lead before halftime. With a four-goal cushion, the Eagles mixed things up on offense in the second half, allowing some defenders to switch and play offensive positions.

While that strategy worked against Ruskin, Warrensburg was quick to exploit the change and scored two goals before Summit Christian slowed the Tigers down enough to go home with the win.

“After the game we talked about maintaining confidence and playing hard for 80 minutes,” Siemsen said. “I think it woke the girls up.”

That eye opening experience may have come just in time. The Eagles have a challenging schedule next week. They travel to rival Barstow on April 29, play at Van Horn the next day and then finally come home on May 2 to face St. Paul.

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