Those 16 State Title Games
Those 16 State Title Games
2016: Vs. Kapaun Mt. Carmel (5-0)
ANDOVER Maize came into the Class 5A girls soccer semifinals riding high and scoring in bunches.
But the top-seeded and undefeated Eagles fell 3-1 Friday night to St. Thomas Aquinas, a defensive juggernaut that refused to let Maize’s high scorers get free.
Meanwhile, Maize came in with an offense that had been averaging nearly eight goals. The Eagles’ talented tandem of Katie McClure and MaKayla Toth are the state’s top two goal scorers with 49 apiece.
But Friday night, Aquinas was too much. Saints sophomore goalkeeper Alia Calvert had seven saves on the night.
The Eagles’ only score came off a penalty kick in the first half.
37:07 Klanke (Heying turns upfield to find Klanke's feet)
24:02 Klanke (Romme hits the long free kick that is miscleared to Klanke)
39:37 K. Heying (Denning chips it forward)
St. Thomas Aquinas knocked off Kapaun 5-0 in the Class 5A state championship, giving the school its seventh-straight state title.
Five different girls scored for the Saints and it was also the 10th in the last 12 years for the school.
"We may have been the favorite last year or the year before, but we were surely not the favorite this year," St. Thomas Aquinas coach Craig Ewing said after knocking off No. 1 seed Maize and the Crusaders. "To win something when you're not supposed to, those are the wins that mean the most."
Often known for their ability in set pieces, the Saints jumped on the board with two goals in those sets in the first 16 minutes.
St. Thomas Aquinas took a 2-0 lead into the locker room and tacked on three additional goals in the final 40 minutes to complete the shutout.
"We had not done very well with them for most of the season, but we worked at it and we worked at it," Ewing said. "(With) our first two goals today being on set pieces... they're one of the measurements on how we have gotten better."
Cantele said it was very difficult keeping the Saints' versatile and deep attack contained.
"Dead ball situations are what they thrive on," Kapaun coach Anthony Cantele said. "We tried to take them away and close on them as quickly as we could when they shot from outside the box. Unfortunately, the one time we weren't able to do that they had a phenomenal goal. That's just how good they are. Give them one inch and they'll take a mile."
Just like they did in Friday night's 3-1 win over Maize, the Saints jumped into cruise control defensively after taking the early lead.
"We are not an explosive offensive team, scoring one or two a lot of the time," Ewing said. "When we get good set pieces, we do score more though. We are a very, very good defensive team and I feel we've got the best keeper in the state with a terrific back line."
The Saints maintained possession for the majority of the contest, keeping the Crusaders from running their sets.
We tried to do our best to get the ball out of our side of the field and get it up field," Cantele said. "We tried to put pressure on their defense and they're solid back there. They dealt with what we tried to do and it didn't work out for us."
34:27 Romme (Bender bends right for half-volley)
25:34 Woltering (Bender whips the free kick near post)
39:05 K. Heying (Denning finds her off the check down)
18:41. Janky. (Itsy goes through)
1:25 Loughman (Linder bends it in for the header)
2015: Vs. BV Southwest in Topeka at Hummer (#15)
from Wichita Eagle
Aquinas 2, BV Southwest 1 — Senior Jamie Kutey rifled a shot into the left side of the net in the 66th minute, providing the game-winner in Aquinas' 2-1 victory over Blue Valley Southwest on Saturday afternoon in the 5A state championship game at Hummer Sports Park.
“You couldn’t write a script better,” Aquinas coach Craig Ewing said. “That’s the way it ends — she wins the state championship again.”
Kutey — the school’s all-time leader in goals and assists — finished her career with a standout performance. The Marquette signee knocked in a shot off a rebound in the ninth minute for the Saints’ first goal, then answered Southwest’s tally in the 59th minute with the 88th score of her career.
“I would say, honestly, she has the greatest soccer legacy in girls soccer history in Kansas. … I don’t know anybody that can put up a legacy like hers,” Ewing said. “The blessing of having her for four years is ridiculous.”
Kutey finished with four state championships and also scored at least one goal in each of her team’s championship games.
“It’s crazy actually,” Kutey said. “I guess I just turn my engines on when I get to the final.”
Kutey’s game-winning goal was assisted by left backer Sarah Tyler — a connection that also provided the game-winner in last year’s 2-1 title victory over Blue Valley Southwest.
Ewing also was pleased with the play of freshman defender Alex Moss, who shadowed dangerous midfielder Charlotte Davis. The freshman Moss battled through physical play that left her with a concussion afterwards.
Aquinas' six consecutive titles are unmatched in Kansas’ girls soccer history.
“You have to be very blessed and lucky,” Ewing said, “and I think we are.”
The State-Winning Goal: The goal.
2014: vs. BV Southwest in Emporia (#14)
This has to go down as one of the greats in STA Lore. Although we had defeated BVSW 4-2 during regular season, that match offered up 3 deadball goals with three 3 goals in the first 8 minutes. And Coach Pendelton was sitting that one out with a red card.
In this match-up SW took advantage of its size, creating numerous throw-ins and set pieces where they had the size advantage. We did score early on a t-ball from Molly Schmidt that Sweeney touched at the front post pushing it to the back post. But Southwest got it tied on a set piece with a nice head-flick and a follow. Although it appeared that Loughman had control of the ball on the ground when the ball was kicked into the goal, the speed and the size of the scrum would have made it difficult for the referee to see.
We did dominate the latter part of the second half when we moved Madi Holmes up to offensive center midfield, Mary Disidore to the point of the midfield diamond and Kristina Colling to the back of that diamond, but we just did not finish a couple of great chances.
With the score tied 1-1 going into overtime All-American Jamie Kutey took over in one of the great goals in the history of Kanas playoffs. She received a ball near midfield on a check down, spun inside, bursting toward goal, blowing by defenders. Even when the EKL defender of the year tried to close her just before her shot, she separated then laced one through a small window of defenders and the goal keeper to win the match 20 seconds into the game.
2013: vs. Valley Center in McPherson (#13)
This state title turned into a laugher even though we were playing a 20-0 team in Valley Center. And yes they had beaten Kapaun and Mill Valley, etc. on the way, but they were not in the class of the next best team in the state this year, BV Southwest who we had downed 4-2.
We jumped up 2-0 against a very strong wind in the first half on goals from Sweeney and Kutey. So there was little drama knowing we would be getting the wind in the second half. We actually scored on 3 throw-ins plays one from Meyers, one from Bride and one from Disidore: 5-0.
2012: vs. Mill Valley in Topeka (#12)
This match was what the team was on a collision course for, that is if we were able to get by a very good BV Southwest team. (We did. 1-0 on a Kutey goal in the closing minutes.) Mill Valley had its best team ever, maybe forever as they were loaded with an ECNL great and very good club players. What they did not have was a good schedule that would have given them a better opportunity for this match.
This was the “sled game” as we road down that long beautiful hill that we had hiked up since mid-season. Pyle and Sweeney scored early with both taking huge hits after they shot, and the Jags cut the lead to 1 at half.
But when Zarse cashed a corner and Kutey finished another to end the match at 4-1, bringing us a third-straight title despite housing only 4 seniors and graduating 9 the year before.
2011: vs. BV Southwest in Emporia (#11)
This was not much of a state final. But you can see that in the years to come, BV Southwest will be pretty darn good. We tangled with a very good Bishop Carroll team in the semis, winning 2-0, but the finals was a romp: 5-0.
Alfonsin scored 17 in and then Sweeney added one to give us a 2-0 lead at halftime. Sweeney scored again in the second half with Heilman and Mugg closing the thing out.
This was our second straight title.
2010: vs. Kapaun in Topeka (#10)
This will be on the Top 10 list of state finals in that we got to have a rematch with a team that had beaten us at home and on senior night, here in the state finals.
And we were pretty even teams. And we had lost heartbreakers the previous two years, once to Kapaun. So this match was a big deal. We were trying to live out our “Don’t Stop Believing” theme of just knowing STA would return to our glory days. This state title would start quite a run! Nice theme BWhite.
We STAed them to start out as Heilman hit a great t-ball through Cullings’ dummy for Washburn to finish. Then Washburn hit an outside midfield to outside midfield ball to put us up 2-0.
Kapaun did get it back to 2-1 to create some anxiety into that long-awaited dog pile.
2007: vs. Shawnee Heights at Andover (9th)
This state title was really no surprise as the team made a run at the National Title with just a great senior class, numbering 11. They finished 18-1, 4th in the country and a hair and an overtime away from a national title.
Gittemeier scored early on a corner with Ellefson scoring on a cross from Waggoner soon after. Then Magness found Clark and all of a sudden it was 3-0 and over. Ellefson did score again on a mighty rip from 25 and Heights would get one, but this one was in the books early.
2006: vs. Blue Valley West at McPherson (#8)
This probably goes down as the second greatest state final in Aquinas history. First of all we had a great opponent BV West who we just got by during regular season 3-2.
Some things those who attended this one will always remember will start with THE WIND. No goals were scored without having it. It was in the 40’s. Crazy McPherson wind.
They will also remember a yellow card. With the Saints down 2-0 in the first half West appeared to be streaking toward another goal. Somehow Mackenzie Ayer caught up with her, fouled her but stopped the play. Yellow Card.
We still were down 2-0 with only 20 minutes to go. But Dobbie and Miller got us tied and into the first overtime.
Of course we lost the toss. Another thing those who were there will always remember is seeing Jessica Teahan come off the bench to go in goal during that overtime with All American Hannah Koesterer taking the bench. Teahan did not have just a leg; it was a leg directly from God, and did she use it in that overtime to bring balls out against that fierce wind, keeping the score at 2-2.
With 2:28 left in the second overtime, Sutter found Ellefson’s foot. Erin took a touch then ripped a right-footed shot that was blocked back into her; she then one-touched it left-footed for a goal on the back post. A remarkable finish! One of the greatest in STA History.
2005: vs. SM West @ Maize (#7)
Here is another State Title that was almost expected as we fielded as good a team as Aquinas has ever fielded. They went 20-1, were National Runner-ups, losing one screwy game in St. Louis to St. Joseph Academy, 2-1.
Koesterer and company gave up zero goals in post season. In this final we were taking on a very good 1-loss West team. It was 0-0 at half, but Geha found Sweeney on a set piece and then Sweeney scored again to end a remarkable season with a 2-0 6A State Title.
2000 vs. Hayden @ Friends University (#6)
Here’s a final where the semi-final was really the final. If the 2000 semi-final with Kapuan would have been the state final, it would have to go down as one of the greats in STA history, but it wasn’t. Kapaun came in 18-1. Kelly Fitzpatrick’s diagonal ball into the box found a freshman Katie Buser with only 37 seconds left in the match to win it 2-1. (Keep in mind this version of the Saints only got to the final four by winning a PK shootout against Topeka West.)
And even though the finals ended up 3-0, the game was only 1-0 into the second half. Freshman Jessica Buhman scored early but the Saints even back in 2000 could run a pretty darn good corner, scoring their final two goals on corner kicks, one by Jillian Carroll and one by Erin Leary.
The 2000 theme shirt was “No Quit,” and it seemed to tell the tale of this squad.
1999 vs. Bishop Miege in Manhattan (#5)
The girls blew by McPherson in the semis (9-0) to find EKL rival Miege waiting for them in the finals. This one was a 3-2 squeaker with two goals from striker, Kim Riffel. Freshman Kristen Anderson had the game-winning goal in the 56th minute. But saves by Ana Mora will be what really stand out in this final. She made two brilliant saves in the early moments of the second half that saved two goals. Mora robbed Miege’s brilliant scorer, Annie Henley, three times during the match.
Now, if the Saints had lost the match, the talk would be centered more on the loss of MVP Jackie Rzeszut, early in the match due to injury. But the rest of the squad did not let that be the story. In fact Anderson picked up an assist and the state-winning goal going in for Rzeszut.
This was a year in which the Saints shared the EKL title with the Stags. We had beaten them in our first match of the year (1-0), but tied them in the final match of the year (1-1). So this final was predictably close.
This squad finished with a sizzling 17-2-2 record, sporting on of the better lineups in STA history. Their theme of “Finish what you started” connected them to that last title in 1996, the year this very good senior class played as freshman.
1996 vs. SM South in Manhattan (#4)
Well, this was it—the number one high school sporting event for the entire year, our state final against SM South. I am not even sure that the Star continues to rank high school events, with the depletion of the sports staffs in the age of internet, but back in the day for a good many years they did rank events, and this one was the highest ranked event ever for Aquinas, ever!
We do need some background. This 1996 state final would only be the 4th ever in the state of Kansas, and Aquinas had won the first 3. With a ton of graduates from the 1995 class, most area writers and coaches thought the STA girls’ soccer dynasty was about to meet its end.
To top things off, mid-season the Saints lost one of the top players to ever play girls’ soccer in Kansas City (in fact she is still the Saints leading scorer, 20 years after this season), Erin Grimsley, as she left the team.
Many had crowned the Raiders from SM South the first non-Saint state champs in Kansas, for in fact they had beaten Saints 2-1 earlier in the season as they were defending their number one area-ranking.
Defense would become even more important now, as teams could dedicate more players to stopping the best striker in the city, Saints senior, Bridget Darby (she still finished, however, with 23 goals.) Robyn Reeb and Margie Carr (goal) would lead that defense.
Sure enough the state final was still all zeroes with less than a minute to play. It had been a fiercely competitive match with both teams allowing little space for players to operate.
It came down to a corner kick with 15 seconds to play. Sabrina Sanders bent the left-footed corner in, but it was cleared back out to Sanders side where she merely one-touched it back across where Darby held her back-post zone to head in the state-winning goal, to keep the unreal streak of 4 straight state titles going and to answer all Aquinas doubters.
1995 vs. Bishop Miege in Manhattan (#3)
This ’95 team has been called the “greatest of all STA girls’ teams.” Of course we would need to put them in a playoff against the 2005 team and the 2014 team as of now. But this team was loaded. Grimsley noted after the state title game that “this team is so stacked, with so many great players.”
8 off this team are in the Hall of Fame! Their trip to Nebraska to play the Midwest Power Duschene (they had won 61 out of their last 62 matches) is the stuff of lore. An early red card put the Saints down 1-0, left to play as good a team as there was in the country with 10. We won 3-1. (Read about that one.)
The team only lost one match at Miege on the final away match of regular season when we stood 14-0. They outscored their opponents 22-1 in post season. The State semi-final match was 10-1 against Bishop Carroll.
In the state finals we blanked a very good SM East team, 3-0, outshooting them 27-2. Springate found Walsh early with Michelle Gossman assisting Stacy Bialeck before halftime. Grimsley cashed a PK in the second half to end the scoring. (It was her 34th goal of the season.)
1994 vs. Bishop Miege in Manhattan (#2)
Here was one of the first 20-1 teams (once again losing only to Miege in the 15th match of the year). This team had lost one of the midwest’s best Natalie Sanders at center midfield or it also would be in the running for greatest Aquinas team of all time. The Saints also lost defender Katie Lents for the season with injury. (Most would say we were two injuries away from an undefeated season, and perhaps a national title.) Yet, Miege was pretty darn good as well.
In fact both Miege and Aquinas entered the state championship match 19-1 ready to do battle in what looked to be a close match. It wasn’t.
This title match will best be remembered for a slim, right back named Sarah Carson. She played forward in the match, picking up a hat trick and being taken down in the box to create a PK that Erin Grimsley buried. 4-0.
Miege in those days played the deepest sweeper in the Midwest, a tactic that seemed to work fairly well. Carson, a very disciplined player, pushed up on her all game creating so much space for the Saints wide. So when Kurtz had to leave the middle to defend the wing, we just pushed the ball across for a Carson finish.
1993 vs. SM Northwest at SM Soccer Complex (#1 and #1-ever in KS)
Finally in the Spring of 1993 the state of Kansas allowed for a girls’ state tournament. For the past five years the state held tight with 23 schools playing girls’ soccer. Kansas would not play until they found a 24th school. In 1993 we got to 27. So we played.
Going into the season most had tagged SM Northwest as the most talented team. But we beat them 4-2 during regular season on our way to a 20-1 year and a date with them in the State Finals, held right here in KC.
What most will remember about this game might be the weather. Storms threaten all day. But after a tweak at halftime, we garnered two goals (freshman Erin Grimsley and sophomore Stacy Bialek) before a long lightening break. We regrouped to emerge and hold them scoreless the rest of the way.
What a moment! To win the first-ever state title in Kansas. We made history.