Despite a scoreless first half, Parkway West never looked to be in doubt as the Longhorns worked their way to a three-goal victory on Friday against Wisconsin's Waterford Union High School.
The game was one of five that opened this weekend's 2011 Parkway West St. Louis College Showcase.
Parkway senior Meghan Dolan of Ballwin, who's bound for Lynn University next year on a soccer scholarship, didn't face many shots during the game's first half. That's why coach Annie Wayland assigned the well-rounded Dolan to play forward in the second half, which resulted in a well-placed but unlikely goal that broke down the Waterford defense.
To Wayland's delight, it was the first of three goals that fulfilled her explicit halftime instructions to "get three goals."
"That's why I told them that if I'd known it was that easy, I would have told them to do that a long time ago," Wayland said with a smile.
Before bagging a goal of her own in the game's second half, junior Amber Manwill got the assist on Dolan's goal with a low cross from the end-line that met Dolan inside the goal box. The pass resulted in a collision between Dolan and the Waterford goalkeeper, which Dolan cooly worked through by touching the ball wide of the goal and finessing it from an awkward angle that deflected the ball off a Waterford defender for a goal.
"I was excited for it to go in but I thought [the goalie] had it," Dolan said. "But yeah, it was a shot."
Within 15 minutes of the team's initial goal, Manwill scored with a beautifully placed far-post shot from 20 yards out that bounced just in front of the goal-line before sinking into the net.
But that wasn't enough to satiate the Longhorns, or at least not Amber's sister, Alysa Manwill, who followed with another goal that left Waterford's defense dumbfounded.
Coach Wayland said the current Longhorns lineup is the most coachable group she's led in her six seasons with the team, which now includes seven seniors. It's hard not to be pleased, Wayland said, when players are specifically called on to score and manage to deliver.
"The girl can score goals," Wayland said of Dolan who led the team in scoring last year as a junior.
Due to a postseason basketball wrist injury to first-string goalie Maggie Wenstrup, however, Dolan's been assigned to goalkeeping duties this season, with Friday's second-half change marking her first goal of 2011.
"She's always been a solid goalkeeper," Waylan said. "That's her niche. But she's always been a utility player. You can play her anywhere and she'll get the job done."
Junior defender Lucy Devereux of Ballwin said that in addition to the team's flexibility, they excelled at maintaining offensive control Friday.
"Compared to our old games, we passed the ball around a lot more," Devereux said. "We played more as a team, which was really helpful for our success."
Friday's game was the first of two in this event for Parkway West, who will play Fort Zumwalt North at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Soccer Park in Fenton. Other participating teams include high schools from around the midwest, including suburban Chicago's Nequa Valley, who's team is ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPN RISE.
Neuqua Valley blew out on Friday with a 7-1 victory. Marquette High School also lost their game Friday against Belleville West, 1-0.
For a complete list of all games and results with ongoing updates, visit the official Parkway West St. Louis College Showcase website.
Editor's Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. A previous version of this article incorrectly identified two Parkway West players. We very sincerely regret this error.