McPHERSON — It was a tough and chippy battle Thursday at the McPherson Invitational, but after a late score by Kelia Gillispie, the Newton High School girls soccer team pulled through   to get a 2-1 victory over Topeka High School and finish the McPherson Invitational Tournament in third place.

"They played awesome tonight. We got after the ball well, which we haven't been doing lately. We could still do a better job with the 50/50 balls but the second balls we got they responded well." Newton's head coach Scott A. Jantzi said after the game.

It was a defensive match between the two teams as they went the scoreless majority of the first half.

"Defensively we did a much better job staying with marks. This is how it's going to be if we want to win. Keeping the ball out of our nets are going to be good," Jantzi said.

It was when the game hit the three-minute mark when Newton put points on the board first to give the Railroaders the lead. Aspen Olson snuck in a goal between Topeka's goalkeeper Phoenix Michaels' legs.

Topeka was down, but not out. Both teams went back-and-forth defensively until Alyssa Stewart for Topeka drove into the tackle box to give Topeka their first goal of the night at the 12-minute mark to set the score at 1-1

It was crunch time with less than three minutes left. Newton had possession. Gillispie came through and launched a 15-yard kick into the net to regain the lead and seal the deal.

"She's a nice player and was huge for our team," Jantzi said.

As the tournament comes to an end, Jantzi wants his girls to take this experience and use the same energy as their season resumes

"We just need to play hard and learn how to defend well as a unit and communicate well by not only talking but listening. That's something we were working on all week long, and it showed tonight," Jantzi said.

Newton finished the tournament 2-1.