Ayden Saunders

AHS sophomore forward Ayden Saunders attempts to drive the ball further downfield in the second half of Tuesday’s regional final in Shawnee.

SHAWNEE — The Atchison High School girls soccer team saw the 2019 campaign come to an end on Thursday in a closely fought match ultimately decided by a series of penalty kicks.

Fouls in the penalty area put the game out of reach for the Lady Red about midway through the second half in 90 degree heat at Maranatha Christian Academy. The teams had battled exhaustively through the first half.

The fouls began to stack up following the earlier handball against AHS sophomore defender Dolores Brant. The ball ricocheted against her forearms in what could have been deemed a natural self-defensive motion, but the officials didn’t think so. Lady Red sophomore forward Ayden Saunders put wind back in AHS’ sails earlier in the half by drawing junior Eagles keeper Anita Eckhardt out of position and firing at an open goal, evening it at 1-1.

A second penalty for aggressive contact in the box widened the margin to 2-1, before sophomore Eagles forward Abby Kynion scored with about 15 minutes left in the game to make it 3-1. With about 8 minutes left, an additional aggressive contact foul in the box set the final score of 4-1.

Atchison finishes the season at 6-8-2 overall. Maranatha received the Northeast Regional Class 4A crown amid its victory.

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