Circle soccer gets clean sheet in win over Garden City

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Circle senior, Kenzi Gillispie (1) kicks a ball towards the goal in the 4-0 win over Garden City on Thursday, May 4 at Wichita North High School in the annual North Cup. Gillispie would score one of her two goals on the play.

WICHITA, Kansas—Carsyn Soto scored only four minutes into the game on a brilliant pass from Brooklyn Hunter and that would be all the Circle Lady Thunderbirds would need in the first round of the North Cup.

Kenzi Gillispie scored two goals as she moved up to the nine, often the most forward playing player on the offensive side, to help Circle beat Garden City 4-0 to advance to Thursday's semifinals.

Gillispie, normally a defensive back on the unforgiving backline, had to move up when Soto left in the eighth minute with an injury. The Kansas State commit made her time worth it as each of her goals showed her skill on the pitch. 

"Who's next? Who can fill that role we are missing on this night," Circle Head Coach Andrew Stauffer said. "That was a bunch of girls who stepped in for us tonight."

Circle ran different back line formations out there as the senior moved up front. It didn't matter as it wasn't until the final 10 minutes of the match did Garden City finally take a shot. Though, that shot was easily saved. 

After feeling comfortable in the front, Gillispie took a nice through ball from Brooklyn Hunter and chipped it over the head of the Garden City goal keeper in the 28th minute for the 2-0 lead that felt enormous for the Lady Buffaloes.

"It was great we adapted with Carsyn out," Gillispie said. "I think we did a great job as a team, finding some goals."

Circle would take that 2-0 lead into the break and would be a level second half until Gillispie put another one in the back of the net in the 68th minute.

Seconds later, Gillispie's sister, Kilar, found a poorly played clearance and struck it home for the 4-0 lead.

"It's been so great watching her play," Kenzi said of her sister. "Just getting to watch her grow as a person and a player has meant a lot and it's been a lot of fun."

Unofficially, Circle had 10 shots on the afternoon, with three corner kicks. 

Garden City (6-7) finished with three shots. 

Circle's shut out is their ninth of the season.

"We have really good team chemistry and do a great job of playing together," Gillispie said. "It helps that we have Hannah [Stipp] back there that we know if we get beat we can trust she's going to save that ball."

The Lady T-Birds have won 13 games, most in school history and are guaranteed and put themselves in a position to win a league title next week.

Circle will get Liberal (7-5), another 6A opponent at 5 p.m. at Wichita North on Thursday, May 6. The winner of that match will get either Wichita Trinity Academy (3-10) or Mulvane (11-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m.

"It's great that we're there," Stauffer said. "It's never been of our goals because we play to be the best team every night because we didn't even know if we'd get this season.

"Every night is what's most important to us. Everything else just falls with it."

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.