Girls soccer finishes fourth in state tournament

Lady Jaguars finish 18-3-0 on the season after falling to Maize 4-0

Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

Both disappointment and pride filled the players and coaches of the girls soccer team after they lost 4-0 to Maize in the 5A state third place game on Saturday, May 28.

The Jaguars had lost to Kapaun Mt. Carmel 1-0 the night before in the state semifinal game, which was delayed due to weather conditions.

Coming off that late night, the team had to quickly shift focus to Maize, which proved to be a challenge, according to junior forward Haley Freeman.

“We knew that Maize was one of the best teams in the state obviously. We pulled together, got rid of what happened last night, forgot about that,” Freeman said. “It was a rough, physical game and mentally it was hard because it’s hot, we’re tired, we didn’t get home until midnight last night.”

Maize had control for most of the game as they took a 2-0 lead into halftime and kept attacking throughout en route to their eventual third place finish.

The inability to convert and create opportunities proved to be a deciding factor in the game, according to sophomore goalkeeper Bailey Heffernon.

“We kept trying to slot through balls because we knew that was the only way we could break through, but it didn’t really connect on the end of them,” Heffernon said. “We had a lot of opportunities. Going into halftime we should have been 2-2 instead of 2-0. The only difference was they had chances and we didn’t have chances.”

The fourth place finish was not what the team was hoping for, according to senior defender Lindsey Hamner, but didn’t tarnish her last high school soccer season, which ended 18-3.

“It was definitely disappointing, but I’m proud of us. We had a great season,” Hamner said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better senior season. Our goal was to make it state and we made it here. We came here and we did our best and that’s all I could ask for.”

Going into next season, Freeman knows that the experience gained throughout the state tournament will benefit the team in the Eastern Kansas League and come playoff time.

“Ending with playing teams like Maize and Kapaun gives us a better idea of what we’re going to be facing every time [in the EKL] next year,” Freeman said. “This is really good experience and going into senior year it’s going to be a lot higher level play.”

Head coach Arlan Vomhof appreciates the hard work by his players and is more confident in the future based on this latest state run. This is Vomhof’s third appearance at the state final four in five seasons.

“We started the season with no one really believing in us or giving us much credibility with how far we might go,” Vomhof said. “The girls even surpassed what I thought we might do. For us to go 15-1 in the regular season and make it through to make it to the state final four, I’m really proud. We’ve got some girls going to college and we only had four seniors, so to do that with a young team was good. We’ll be back here again at some point, so I’m real happy.”

The team will graduate four seniors.

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