First-year squad impresses coach
One could liken the first year of the Tonganoxie High girls soccer program to an expansion team in the professional ranks.
Sure, all the players who participate for the team have experience in the sport, but it's still an adjustment playing for a new squad for the first time.
THS coach Ken Lott was pleased with his team's rookie year. A squad that included several players who played through the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission ranks, the Chieftains finished the season at 6-9, not a bad record for an "expansion" team.
"I guess my assessment, I was surprised we did as well as we did, being we were a first-year program," Lott said.
The Chieftains actually advanced to the second round of the Class 5-1A playoffs. THS defeated Ottawa in the first round, 3-2, before being elminated in the second round. St. James Academy of Lenexa defeated THS, 7-1, in the second round.
Tonganoxie did have several players earn postseason honors. Junior Alexa Moreno was an all-Kaw Valley League second team selection, while senior Shannon Smith was named honorable mention.
At the all-regional level, Moreno was a first-team selection, Smith second team and junior Sarah Flaherty and sophomore Jordan Gagne honorable mention.
Statisically, Moreno had led the team with nine goals and nine assists, while sophomore Addy Phelps had five goals and several assists.
Junior Cally Owsley also scored five goals, while Gagne scored four on the season. Freshman Sydney Bennett and junior Katy Kolman also had a goal apiece for the Chieftains.
As a goalie, Flaherty racked up 291 saves and held a save percentage ratio of 87 percent.
Seniors who graduated this season were Laura Shuster, Jessica Herrington, Bailey Wetta, Shannon Smith, Flor Flores, Crystal Jordan and Jennifer Wagner.
Although that's a good-sized senior class, Lott is looking forward to next season.
He expects 13 to 14 players returning for their senior seasons.