Blue Valley Southwest wins back-to-back state soccer championships
He held back the tears as he looked at his program at its peak.
In his first season as coach, Erik Jones helped Blue Valley Southwest to its second straight Kansas Class 5A boys soccer state championship with a 6-0 win over Maize South on Saturday in Topeka. It was the most lopsided title victory in any class since 2014.
“They’re just such a talented group,” Jones said. “They’re so skillful and have such a high soccer IQ. It’s just fun sometimes, the coaches and I just sit back and let them do their thing.”
The Timberwolves dominated in every facet. They held onto the ball, passed with precision and showed clinical finishing.
Senior forwards Aidan Bates and Luke Rafanan finished with two goals each. Senior midfielder Aidan Lopez and senior defender Dawson Borninkhof rounded out the goal-scoring. BV Southwest attacked from every angle in waves.
Bates said it was special to play with such a talented team.
“Any time we send any player onto the field, I have 100 percent confidence that they’ll do their job and do everything that’s expected,” he said.
Maize South’ plan was to sit back, hold off the BV Southwest attack and counter when available. That didn’t work as Rafanan opened the scoring after about eights minutes and had his second just a couple of minutes later.
With the BV Southwest defending and ability to hold onto the ball, the game was virtually over soon after it started, showing the dominance of Jones’ program. Jones said of the 13 seniors on this year’s team, about six or seven will go on to play college soccer.
“They play together,” Jones said. “They all come from different backgrounds. The way they come together and are so close at practice, they’re just able to carry that over to the games.”
With the 2018 title, BV Southwest has captured two straight titles, three straight championship game appearances and four trips to the semifinals.
Bates said the Timberwolves have proven they are among the best teams in Kansas, but it wasn’t always easy in 2018.
Blue Valley Southwest entered the postseason as the No. 5 seed in Class 5A East. The Timberwolves started the season 6-0 with wins over St. Thomas Aquinas, Kapaun Mt. Carmel and St. James Academy on the road. But then they went to Iowa.
BV Southwest lost three straight at the Go 4 the Goal Fall Classic, and when the Wolves got back to Kansas, they lost again — a 2-1 defeat to Mill Valley, who failed to win its home regional in 2018.
Bates said winning one state title is hard enough. To win two, especially given the rough patch the Wolves went through, was much tougher.
“We just love to win,” he said. “We don’t ever like to lose, so we work as hard as we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”