THS soccer wraps up season at state tournament
THS girls soccer at state
The Chieftain girls soccer team ended its season Friday and Saturday at the state tournament in Rose Hill.
The 2012 soccer season came to an unfavorable end for Tonganoxie High, as the Chieftains were shut out in both games at the Class 4-1A state tournament Friday and Saturday at the Rose Hill Athletic Complex.
THS (10-10-1) dropped a 4-0 decision Friday against Topeka-Hayden, then suffered an 8-0 defeat in a consolation match Saturday against St. James Academy.
Coach Justin Seever's squad struggled to find offense from the very beginning of Friday's semifinal against Hayden. The Chieftains opened the game with a strong wind at their backs, but couldn't capitalize on the advantage in the first half. They fell behind with 29:42 left until halftime when the Wildcats scored their first goal of the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Emma Stilgenbauer dove to block a shot attempt, but the ball ricocheted to Hayden's Kylie Watson, who tapped the ball into the open net.
"I thought we were playing all right," Seever said. "The keeper dove in on the ball and made a heck of a save, but nobody had her back to go try to win it and clear it out. It was just unlucky."
That's the only goal either team managed before the break.
Hayden took less than two minutes to strike in the second half, as Addison Barry found the net with 38:17 left on the clock. The Wildcats scored twice more in the next 10 minutes to put the game out of reach.
"That second goal really hurt us," Seever said. "It kind of deflated us."
THS, which only had one shot attempt in the game, failed to create scoring opportunities down the stretch, as Hayden kept the ball on the Chieftains' side of the field for the majority of the second half.
Despite allowing four goals, Stilgenbauer recorded nine saves in the contest. She and sophomore defender Aly Bartholomew also broke up several other Hayden scoring opportunities by disrupting numerous breakaways in front of the goal.
The going didn't get any easier in Saturday's consolation match, as THS allowed four goals each in the first and second half and managed just two shot attempts of its own.
It took St. James less than 90 seconds to break through, as Margaret Brophy took advantage of an awkward bounce that left the net open with 38:37 left in the first half.
The Thunder, who played with a strong wind at their backs in the opening period, added three more goals before the break to take a 4-0 lead into intermission.
"They chose the wind the first half, Seever said. "They wanted to come at us and be aggressive. In that first half, we had to defend to keep them out of the net just based on that 30-plus mile-an-hour wind."
Things didn't get much better after halftime, as St. James opened second-half scoring with 32:11 remaining. Four Thunder players scored in the period for the final margin of victory.
The state tournament may not have gone how the Chieftains had hoped, but it capped off a record-breaking season. Among THS' accomplishments in 2012 were an eight-game win streak, a school record 10 victories, the first regional title in school history and the first state appearance in school history.
"I feel like (this season) showed the girls what we're capable of," Seever said. "I honestly couldn't be any more proud of them. We wanted to come down here and get a state title, but just to get here and to be the only public school in the state left, I feel like we put our stamp on it."
THS will return several key players next season, as this year's varsity roster included just four seniors.