For the first time in Kansas boys soccer history, there will not be a 6A state soccer champion from Johnson County for the second straight year.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
That was assured when defending champion Wichita Northwest eliminated top-ranked Blue Valley Northwest 1-0 and Washburn Rural dumped Shawnee Mission East 1-0 in the 6A semifinals on Friday at the College Boulevard Activity Center in Olathe.
“Soccer sometimes can be a cruel game,” BV Northwest coach Rick Pribyl said. “We probably had 20 or 30 shots on goal in the second half and couldn’t put one in. … It certainly wasn’t due to the kids’ lack of skill, lack of desire or lack of effort.”
It was a similar story for the Lancers.
“Possession was probably, what, 65-35 or 70-30,” SM East coach Jamie Kelly said. “We totally out-possessed them and had way more chances than they did. We just couldn’t finish them.”
The BV Northwest Huskies, 17-2-1, who went down a goal with 9 minutes, 19 seconds before halftime, briefly celebrated an equalizer off a cross from Jordan Thacker that senior Paul Fletcher buried with 6:57 remaining, but it was negated by an offside call.
During the second semifinal, SM East, 16-4-0, fell behind in the 11th minute off a goal by Junior Blues sophomore Austin Halsey, which stood up as the game-winner.
“They got their one good opportunity and put it away, which is what you have to do when you make it to this stage,” Kelly said.
BV Northwest and SM East meet at noon on Saturday in the third-place game.
• At the Kansas 5A state tourney, which was played at Topeka’s Hummer Sports Park, Bishop Miege reached its second title game in four years with a 4-1 victory against Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel.
“A lot of these kids were freshmen down here in 2009 when we lost in the championship,” Miege coach Joe Huppe said. “Now, they’re seniors, and they played with a tremendous sense of urgency.”
The Stags, 17-2-1, grabbed a lead midway through the first half as seniors Brandon Milburn and Aidan Kuhls teamed up to torch the Crusaders’ defense for a goal.
Kapaun answered with 8 minutes remaining before halftime, but that only angered Miege, which found two more goals before halftime for a commanding lead.
Two minutes after the game-tying goal, senior Nico Marquez caught the Crusaders out of position for the game-winner, while Danny Mohler stuck home the dagger with 3 minutes left in the first half off a free kick — the Stags’ 26th goal off a set piece this season.
“We didn’t panic at all, so to get that next goal right after they scored was big,” Miege assistant Nate Huppe said. “That third goal, we broke their backs with that. You could see their heads go down.”
Kuhls added an insurance goal with 7 minutes left.
Meanwhile, Harmon’s title run ended with a 1-0 loss against defending 5A champion Liberal.
“I’m definitely proud of these games, and it wasn’t a Cinderella story to us,” Hawks coach Carlos Olivas said. “We knew how good we could be, and (on Saturday) we’re going to try and make a statement.”
Miege will meet Liberal, 11-8-1, at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the title, while Harmon, 18-2-0, plays Kapaun, 14-6-0, at noon for third place.
• Finally, at Kansas 4-3-2-1A state, which is being played at Piper, defending champ Kansas City Christian fell 2-0 against Topeka Hayden, but Tonganoxie moved into the championship match with a 3-1 win against McPherson.
Buoyed by senior co-captain Matt Saathoff’s hat trick, Tonganoxie, which was tied 1-1 at the half, dominated the second 40 minutes to earn the first title berth in program history.
Before this season Tonganoxie had never even made the semifinals, but Tonganoxie coach Brial Kroll cautions about writing off his club.
“Call it dumb luck, call it crazy, call it what you want,” he said. “People have said all season Tonganoxie’s not that good. That’s all right. You don’t have to play great soccer. You just have to score one more than the other team, and that’s what we’ve been doing. There’s no reason we can’t do it one more time.”
The Chieftains, 16-3-1, meet Hayden, 19-1-0, for the 4-3-2-1A title at 2 p.m., while KC Christian, 9-7-4, will play McPherson, 17-3-0, for third place at noon.