The 2013-14 Missouri high school sports season will wrap up this week with state championships in girls soccer and baseball. Here are five things to watch during the final week:
1. Kearney’s chance at redemption
The Kearney girls soccer team is back in the Missouri Class 2 state tournament for the second straight season. It’s hoping this trip ends a little better.
Kearney took an undefeated record into the tournament last spring but lost to St. Dominic of O’Fallon in a semifinal before playing to a scoreless draw with Rosati-Kain of St. Louis in the third-place game.
The Bulldogs, 22-3-1, feel as though they are as healthy as they have been all season, which showed through in a 6-2 win against Notre Dame de Sion in the quarterfinals.
They aren’t as experienced on the back line as they were last season, but with Allie Hess controlling the attack, they can outscore just about any other team.
Kearney will face Helias Catholic of Jefferson City in the Class 2 semifinals at noon Friday at Blue Springs South.
2. St. Teresa’s run at perfection
Midway through the spring season, the St. Teresa’s Academy girls soccer team took over as the top-ranked high school team in the nation. The Stars have lived up to the billing.
They will take a 21-0 mark into a Missouri Class 3 soccer semifinal match against Jefferson City at 4 p.m. Friday at Blue Springs South High School. The undefeated mark is especially impressive considering the schedule. St. Teresa’s won the MO-KAN Challenge in April — defeating nationally-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas in the final — and won the Tournament of Champions in Burlington, Iowa, last month.
Stars forward Dorian Bailey was named the Missouri Gatorade player of the year, although the team likes to run its offense through attacking midfielder Savannah Trujillo, a Missouri signee.
St. Teresa’s finished second in the Class 3 state tournament last season.
3. Lutheran’s postseason run
Maryville delivered Lutheran an 8-1 drubbing on the opening night of the 2014 girls soccer season.
Lutheran hasn’t lost since. The Knights will take a 21-match unbeaten streak into their Missouri Class 1 semifinal against Springfield Catholic at noon Friday at Blue Springs High School.
Lutheran, 20-1-1, has made a habit of winning close games over the last two seasons. It beat Summit Christian Academy 5-4 in overtime of a sectional match before taking out St. Pius X of Festus 2-1 in the quarterfinals. Lutheran has won six one-goal games.
4. Blue Springs South and the olive jar
After enduing a midseason hitting slump — leading to a string of six losses in eight games — the Blue Springs South bats have come alive just in time for the postseason. The Jaguars have scored 42 runs in four playoff victories, leading to their first trip to the Missouri Class 5 state baseball tournament.
As the players explain, they’ve opened the olive jar.
“You have a bunch of olives packed in tight, so it’s tough to get the first one out,” senior Colton Pogue said. “But once you get that first one out, then they all start falling out. That’s what’s happened for us.”
Blue Springs South, 23-11, will play Columbia Rock Bridge at 4 p.m. Thursday at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon, Mo. The two teams split their two regular season meetings.
5. Pembroke Hill looks to extend winning streak
With the semifinals and championship games played on back-to-back days, the Missouri Class 4 state baseball tournament tends to favor the teams that have a pair of aces on the mound, rather than just one.
Advantage, Pembroke Hill.
Joe Thomas and Tyler Laplante have combined for a 13-1 record atop the Raiders’ pitching rotation. That gives the team a boatload of confidence as it heads into a semifinal game against Logan-Rogersville at 4 p.m. Friday at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon, Mo.
Pembroke Hill, 26-4, has won 12 straight.