Being so-so is so over the Lee’s Summit girls soccer team. The Tigers even have the documentation to prove it.
Before this season began, Tigers head coach David Wiebenga had everybody – players and coaches alike – sign their names to a contract detailing what would be expected from the players and from the people calling the shots. And he put it up for display in his classroom.
“We were .500 over the last two years and quite frankly, for our program and for our talent, that wasn’t good enough,” Wiebenga said. “And we had to own it. Everybody from the coaches to the players.
“And they’ve responded. I’m very excited about this group.’
Everyone seems to be holding up their end of the bargain so far. After beating Lee’s Summit West 3-0 April 4 at Hertzog Stadium, the Tigers were off to a 3-1-1 start. Not bad for a team that went 9-11-1 the season before.
“It’s a much more confident start to the season,” Wiebenga said. “The girls just have a presence about them. They’re really enjoying each other. A big emphasis to this year in preseason was getting back to having fun - remembering why we do this.”
The Tigers appeared to be having a good time against Lee’s Summit West, a team which the current seniors on their roster had never beaten. Lee’s Summit took the game to the Titans early, pressing up front with their offense while aggressively disrupting the Titans with solid back-line defense.
Sophomore Payton Seymour provided most of the Tigers’ firepower with two booming goals and several near misses. Courtney Killian had the Tigers’ other goal and goalie Alexis Gochnauer recorded her third shutout.
“I can’t talk enough about individual players,” Wiebenga said. “All of them did their job tonight.”
Seymour’s first goal came on a breakaway just three minutes into the game. Charging in from the right side of the 18-yard box, she found an easy target when the West goalie was drawn out of the net.
Killian’s goal with 8:43 left made it 2-0 before the half, and Seymour struck again with 30:49 left in the second half with a blast from the top of the box that went off the Titan goalie’s hands.
“She’s pretty quick,” Lee’s Summit West coach Todd Krey said of Seymour. “I think her speed killed us. We just didn’t keep up with their speed. We’ve got to learn that if they’ve got speed we’ve got to win (the ball) initially and not let someone like that get on a run with the ball.
West is making progress, Krey said, in deciding who will fill what role on his young team, which fell to 2-4 with the loss. Still, he was disappointed in how his players didn’t match the Tigers’ aggressiveness.
“They just seemed to want it more tonight and they just outplayed us,” Krey said.
Lee’s Summit also displayed some resilience along with its toughness, which Wiebenga said made the win all the more pleasing. The Tigers suffered a wrenching 2-1overtime loss to Blue Springs South the night before, and he was concerned about how they would bounce back.
He didn’t have to be. The players just lived up to what they signed on the dotted line.
“They’re holding themselves accountable and they’re playing really well,” Wiebenga said.