Duchesne meets expectations with fourth title in a row

The Kansas City Star
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Duchesne High School's girls soccer team has the crown, but several other Catholic high schools in the archdiocese found plenty to cheer about this season.

Seven Catholic schools from the archdiocese qualified among the 16 teams to play in the Missouri State High School Activities Association championships June 2-4 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City.

Duchesne's 4-1 win over Pembroke Hill High School in the Class 2 championship game is the fourth title in a row for the school in St. Charles.

Duchesne's Courtney Reimer scored the first goal on a header from 5 yards out off a free kick. After Pembroke Hill tied the game, Amy Jung scored on a chip-in from 3 yards out off a pass from Megan McDonald. Two second-half scores from Ryan Kielty iced the game for Duchesne, which finished 17-3 on the year.

Duchesne coach Patrick Turner said each year "we're lucky to make it to the Final Four, and there's definitely a lot of big expectations that come with winning every year."

It brings out the best in the players, however, Turner said.

This year's team has followed the pattern of previous Duchesne teams of being possession-oriented, forcing teams to try to take the ball away. On occasions when Duchesne loses the ball, the players work hard to get it back and maintain possession.

This year's team relied on its seven seniors to set an example on and off the field, with the younger players buying into the style of play and the need to play as hard as possible in practices and games.

"I have to give all the credit to our seniors and our young players for coming together as they did," Turner said. "They had the odds stacked against them, being a fairly inexperienced team as far as time spent together. The way that they performed and the results — it's unbelievable what they achieved."

The team members "are an outstanding group of young women" who work hard in school and who took their play on the soccer field up another level in order to overcome their opponents, Turner said.

Duchesne's mission of educating the mind, body and spirit translates to the soccer field, the coach said. "A lot of it is having faith in God and faith in your teammates and believing in yourself and that you can go out and compete at a high level. As long as you believe in yourself, the rest will take care of itself."

Trusting in the gifts God gave them especially helps when the season winds down and playoffs get intense. "That mental preparation is a big part of how we approach the game," Turner said.

Duchesne defeated St. Pius X High School of Kansas City 4-0 June 1 to reach the finals. Reimer had two goals and Kielty and Maria Wilder also scored.

Other games

Also in Class 2, Notre Dame High School fell just short of reaching the finals after losing 2-0 June 1 to Pembroke Hill. The team, 9-15 on the season, also fell 2-1 to St. Pius X in the third-place game. Alexandra Lanzafame scored for Notre Dame in a comeback bid that fell just short in that game June 4. Notre Dame defeated Bishop DuBourg 2-1 to reach the final four.

In Class 1, Trinity Catholic's bid for a championship fell short after a 1-0 loss in the finals to Saxony Lutheran. Trinity, 14-8-2 this season, won 3-1 in the semifinals against Summit Christian June 1 with goals from Kierstyn Weaver, Kelsey Keppler and Hannah Dietiker.

In Class 3, Incarnate Word and Visitation each lost in the semifinals, and they tied 0-0 in the third-place match. Visitation, 16-6-2, reached the Final Four with a 6-0 win over Festus May 28 and Incarnate Word, 18-5-2 on the year, defeated St. Dominic 3-2 to reach the semifinals.

In Class 4, St. Joseph's Academy lost in the finals 4-2 to St. Teresa's Academy of Kansas City, ending its season with a 21-3-1 record. St. Joseph's goals were scored by Emily Burton and Mallory Stock, and the team had a 2-1 lead at halftime. St. Joseph's defeated Lee's Summit 2-1 June 3 in the semifinals with goals from Paige Balota and Emily Burton. St. Joseph's won vs. Eureka and Northwest earlier in the playoffs. Cor Jesu reached the semifinals before losing 3-0 to St. Teresa's and falling 4-1 in the third-place game to Lee's Summit. Cor Jesu, 14-12, had a 1-0 overtime win against Francis Howell Central May 28 to advance to the semifinals. 

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