The way Blue Valley West was playing, opportunities to score were few and far between in the Kansas Class 6A state girls soccer final.
But when Shawnee Mission West got its chance, the Vikings scored late in the second half and won the championship game 1-0 on Sunday.
The win solidified an undefeated season for Shawnee Mission West, 20-0-1, and is the first girls soccer title for the Vikings. Shawnee Mission West coach Sarah Gonzalez said there was only one way to describe the feeling.
“Perfect,” she said. “It just feels perfect. We started off the season knowing we had a strong defense and just hoping we’d have great team chemistry, and from day one we did.”
Shawnee Mission West got its best chance with fewer than 20 minutes to play in the game, and put it away.
Maddie Wilkus got a pass from Hannah Miller and sneaked the ball past the charging goalkeeper to give the Vikings the lead with 18:19 to play. Wilkus assisted on the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win in double overtime against Manhattan in Saturday’s semifinal.
“She is a tough, strong girl,” Gonzalez said of Wilkus. “(Her) size doesn’t show everything with her. She’s going to get to the ball, and she’s always helping create (opportunities) with us.”
Blue Valley West, 16-3-2, had a couple of good runs at the goal in the final 15 minutes, but it came up empty in its chances to tie the game. The Jaguars got two shots off at the Shawnee Mission West goal in the final minute, but the final shot ricocheted out and the Vikings took it the length of the field to run out the clock.
Jaguars coach Alex Aiman said the game came down to one sequence even though his team controlled the pace throughout the contest.
“They had a chance and they put it away,” Aiman said. “We had a lot of chances and we didn’t put them away. Soccer can be cruel that way sometimes. I’m sad for my team, but good for (Shawnee Mission West).”
The Jaguars put relentless pressure on Shawnee Mission West throughout the game, giving the Vikings few chances to attack the goal.
Gonzalez said her team was resilient to the end.
“The whole season it’s been a no-quit, whatever-it-takes mentality,” she said. “The second half we started getting comfortable and took care of that opportunity we got.”