The McLean High girls’ soccer team began postseason play Monday evening, May 11, with a first round Liberty District playoff contest versus visiting South Lakes. There, the Highlanders experienced much of the same success it knew throughout the recently completed regular season.
McLean defeated South Lakes in decisive fashion, 6-0, in the quarterfinals round game. With the win, the Highlanders, the No. 2-seed of the eight-team tournament, advanced to Wednesday’s semifinals where they were scheduled to meet the Madison-Langley winner in a 5 p.m. game at W.T. Woodson High School.
The triumph also qualified McLean (11-2 overall record) for next week’s 16-team Northern Region tournament. It marks the second straight season in which the Highlanders have made regionals. Last year, after reaching the Liberty District tourney finals, McLean saw its season end with a first round region playoff loss to South County.
The team, under second year head coach Laura O’Brien, is not focused on regionals just yet. Instead, the Highlanders are gearing for Wednesday’s semis matchup and a possible return trip to Friday night’s finals at Woodson. A year ago, the Highlanders reached the district championship game before losing to Madison.
McLean put things together in the win over South Lakes.
"it’s a great feeling," said O’Brien, following her team’s shutout win over the No. 7-seeded Seahawks. "I have a very talented team and they deserve to be where they are. We’re excited about the season."
<b>MCLEAN ENTERED</b> the district tournament having won four of its final five regular season games, but O’Brien said the Highlanders had not played as well as she would have liked. They completed the regular season with a 2-0 win at district opponent Jefferson on May 1 and had nine days off before the start of the postseason. So O’Brien gave her squad a couple of days off early last week before getting back on the practice field on Wednesday. Then, last Thursday and Friday, McLean scrimmaged against McLean’s JV boys’ team. The coach said the JV boys played at an intensity level that proved to be contagious for her girls, who came out sizzling in Monday’s playoff encounter with South Lakes.
"We did what we needed to do tonight," said O’Brien, who was pleased with her team’s stellar play, especially at the offensive end. "We scored off crosses and corners. It means we’re attacking the [goal area] box better."
McLean received two goals apiece from sophomore midfielders Kristina Bettner and Katie Yensen, as well as single goals from junior forward/midfielder Melissa Downey and sophomore midfielder Andie Romness.
McLean had five players recently named to the All-Liberty District Team. First Team selections were senior forward Jasmine Mohandesi and Romness, while Second Team honorees were freshman defender Caroline Gray, freshman forward/midfielder Josie Seebeck and senior forward/midfielder Taylor Ancell.