LOUISBURG — The Louisburg Lady Cat soccer team was not supposed to be here, celebrating a state quarterfinal shutout victory against Heritage Christian Academy to send them to the Class 4-1A tournament for the fourth time in four seasons.
Yet, there they were, running to hug each other after the game, shaking hands with Heritage Christian and then running across the field for more hugs and pictures with family and friends following a 3-0 victory on the road Tuesday, May 25.
The Louisburg Lady Cat soccer team was allegedly in a rebuilding year. That was the rumor heading into the 2021 season. Rebuilding year is a nice way of saying a team is not expected to be a factor for league, regionals or state.
Someone forgot to let the Louisburg girls know.
Two short years ago, the Lady Cat soccer team was a dynasty. They returned 12 seniors from a team that was runner-up in the state two years in a row, losing in the Class 4A-1A state championship game against private-school powerhouse Bishop Miege both times.
Louisburg won a school record 17 games in 2019. The seniors were 44-18-1 over three seasons, going to state three years in a row.
The 2020 season was their chance to take another shot at Bishop Miege. Then, before it ever started, the season was over due to COVID-19.
“It is just incredible,” Louisburg coach Kyle Conley said. “The last time we played in 2019 we lost six kids. In 2020, COVID took our season and we lost 16 kids. This is literally like a rebuild.
“These kids stepped up and did nothing but just live up to expectations,” Conley said. “They keep battling and don’t quit. We are beat up to no end. We are wrapping seven ankles before every practice and every game. We are like a MASH unit right now. They keep fighting to play another day.”
The Louisburg Lady Cats (12-8-1) lost to Mulvane, 2-1, at Stryker Complex in Wichita for the state semifinals on May 28. The Lady Cats lost another 2-1 game against McPherson in the third-place game Saturday, May 29.
It was the fourth straight appearance in the state final four for the Louisburg Lady Cat soccer program.
Olivia Barber gave the Lady Cats a 1-0 lead with a goal with 28 minutes left in the first half.
McPherson tied the game with a goal in the final two minutes of the first half. They added a goal in the second half to win it 2-1.
Louisburg lost to Mulvane (16-5-0) in the semifinals Friday, May 28.
The Lady Cats led 1-0 in the first half on a goal by Alexis Hampton. Mulvane scored twice in the final 25 minutes for a 2-1 win.
Mulvane fell to Bishop Miege (15-6-0) in the state championship game by a final of 4-0.
“What an incredible ride,” Conley said. “These girls battled and had a really good weekend. They left everything they had out there this weekend.”
Emma Christy got the Lady Cats going against Heritage Christian Academy in the state quarterfinals, breaking a 0-0 tie in the first half on Thursday, May 20. Barber fired in a cross and Christy was there to put it in the back of the net.
Adyson Ross fired a shot from about 30 yards out that soared past the Heritage Christian keeper for a 2-0 lead in the second half.
Barber put the final touch on the win, taking a pass from Christy and hitting nothing but net with her shot for the 3-0 final.
Louisburg advanced to the regional title game with a 10-0 victory against Bishop Ward. Lola Edwards, Hailey Sword, Barber and Hampton each had two goals in the victory.
Hampton broke a 1-1 tie in double overtime, scoring the game winner in a 2-1 victory against Eudora on Tuesday, May 18.
Members of the Louisburg Lady Cats soccer team are Olivia Barber, Abigail Christensen, Emma Christy, Lola Edwards, Bree Gassman, Elizabeth George, Lizvet Guzman Damian, Sierra Hahn, Bailey Hallas, Alexis Hampton, Tehya Harvey, Jolie Hendrickson, Reese Johnson, Brianne Kuhlman, Catie Lemke, Macy Lemke, Kassidi Lomax, Sammy McDaniel, Melissa Meigs, Ruth Minster, Madison O’Keefe, Novella Ptacek, Madison Quinn, Adysoin Ross, Madison Smith, Hailey Sword, Kennady Wilkerson and Bronwynn Williams. Louisburg is coached by Kyle Conley and Jordan Roquemore.