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Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

Olathe South captures Sunflower League boys soccer crown

The Kansas City Star

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For the second straight season, the Olathe South boys soccer team stands alone atop the Sunflower League standings.

It was the third crown in four season for the Falcons, who also shared the league crown with Olathe East and Shawnee Mission Northwest in 2009.

“It’s always a goal at the start of the year to be one of the top teams in the league,” South coach Will Stoskopf said. “To do it back-to-back years is a great accomplishment by the players.”

The Falcons, who finished second at state last season, went 10-0-1 en route to the championship, clinching the title Tuesday with a 1-0 double-overtime win against SM East. Haakon Tabel scored the game’s only goal, while Nick Riggle picked up the shutout.

The shutout was particularly impressive given that starting center back Kyle Vassar missed the game and right back Will Davis left ill after 10 minutes.

With central midfielder Clay Stewart dropping back to center back, South’s defense — which also includes Tyler Gudenkauf, Hays Heil and Eddy Mortera — didn’t miss a beat.

“I always felt like we had the potential to accomplish some pretty good things, but I wasn’t sure if we’d reach that potential and come together in time to win league,” Stoskopf said. “I’m glad we did, but the biggest goal is getting ready for the postseason.”

To that end, the Falcons, 11-4-1, feel successful as well.

“We’re playing pretty well right now, but this year there is a lot of good teams at the top and a lot of parity,” Stoskopf said. “It seems like I say that every year.”

East tennis snags singles, doubles medals

Two years ago, Olathe East sophomore Erica Chang wouldn’t even have qualified for state after finishing fifth at the Kansas 6A regional meet.

Before that, only the top four players at a given regional made it to state, but Chang made the most of her state berth — at least after dropping her opening match.

Chang rallied with three straight wins en route to an eighth-place finish in 6A singles.

Her backside rally started with a win against Washburn Rural senior Mackenzie Hill — who was a regional runner-up and whose sister, Madeline, won the 6A singles crown.

She followed that by out-battling regional champion Olivia Medaris of Maize before pulling another upset against the tourney’s top overall seed, Blue Valley sophomore Morgan Steffes, who had been unbeaten entering state.

Chang, 22-10, lost in the consolation quarterfinals against Lawrence Free State junior Alexis Czapinski and got beat in the seventh-place match against Blue Valley freshman Alexa Tiefel.

Chang’s teammates, sophomore Courtney Child and junior Carley Mitus, finished even higher.

Child and Mitus scored two straight wins to kick off their state run — knocking off Hutchinson juniors Melissa and Ashton Fee then upsetting Washburn Rural juniors Malaina Piyassaphan and Irene Nicolae, a regional champion.

Eventual state runners-up Shawnee Mission East freshman Aidan Epstein and junior Meredith Shackelford sent Child and Mitus to the consolation side in the quarterfinals.

But that was the duo’s only hiccup.

Child and Mitus polished off a fifth-place finish with wins against SM Northwest’s Claire Gordon and Colleen Freeman, Piyassaphan and Nicolae again and, lastly, regional champions Hannah Weber and Allison Reiser from Hutchinson.

ONW’s Judd claims state title

There was a strong crop of seniors in the Kansas 6A golf ranks this season, but all of them were upstaged Monday by Olathe Northwest junior Audrey Judd during the state tournament at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wichita.

Judd fired a 2-over par 74 and beat Blue Valley West’s Alexa Henderson, one of those accomplished seniors, by 3 shots for the fourth-place Ravens.

Cassie Wang, a senior teammate of Judd’s, shot 82 and won a playoff at state for the third consecutive season, beating Manhattan’s Blake Gingalsen for ninth place.

Two other golfers from Olathe cracked the top 20 and earned state medals.

Olathe North senior Megan Manning and Olathe South junior Bailey Gibson both shot 89 and tied for 16th.

Gardner Edgerton’s Jacque Buckingham shot 92 and tied for 27th. She finished 3 strokes from the medals

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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