Welcome to Episode 28 of the Prep Extra Podcast presented by The Lincoln Journal Star.
Last season the Lincoln East girls soccer team had six seniors, including two of the best players in the state, Haley Peterson and Briley Hill, who both currently are on the Nebraska soccer team.
But East has just kept going this season with a new group of players — and now it’s headed back to the state tournament. East got back to state with a big play from a freshman on Tuesday in the district championship match.
East freshman MaKynlie Cade scored just six minutes into the match and the No. 5 Spartans beat No. 10 Columbus 1-0 in the A-5 district championship match at Seacrest Field.
Riding a seven-match winning streak, East (13-2) will make its third straight state tournament appearance on Monday in Omaha.
On the winning score, East junior Lillie Shaw played a ball from the left wing into an open area in front of the goal. Cade beat a defender with one move to her right, and blasted a shot just inside the left post from about 15 yards.
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“I was planning on going outside with it, but the (defender) looked like she knew I was going there, so I jab stepped and went the other way,” Shaw said. “I saw MaKynlie running in so I just kicked it and it got there. She had an amazing touch and an amazing finish.”
It was Cade’s third goal this season.
“She’s just done an amazing job this season,” Shaw said. “I’m so proud of her because she’s the only freshman on the varsity team (full time). I missed my freshman year (for COVID-19), so I don’t even know what that’s like, being surrounded by upperclassmen and playing against upperclassmen that are all bigger than you. It’s awesome that she can do that, and she finishes for us in a district final.”
East coach Emily Mathews said it was a great team goal by both Shaw and Cade.
“It was beautiful,” Mathews said. “That is the type of beautiful combination play that focuses on switching the point of the attack that often time allows for that space behind, and I love that we were able to convert that type of goal.”
The final 10 minutes of the match was intense, with Columbus (11-5) getting off a couple of good chances to tie the match.
But East got the win and is headed back to state. It took some time, but East was able to find the same success as last year’s talented squad.
“It’s a completely different team than last year,” Shaw said. “We had some really important seniors that we didn’t lose — they had to grow up and go to college. It was a learning curve for us to learn how to play with this team They’re two completely different teams, and that those two teams can make it to state it’s really cool to see.”