Soccer Finally State Champions!!
The Rocket Soccer Team believed from the start. They knew they could win it all. From their fourth runner-up finish at state in 2013 they knew this would be their year. The Rockets had worked hard not all season, but their entire life. Every starter has put in thousands of hours outside of the high school season. Half of the team has played together since as early as 2nd grade. They’ve had one goal all season and it was to win the state championship. The Rockets had two games to win this weekend in Bonner Springs. Their first was against a talent stacked De Soto. The Rockets seemed to struggle some especially during the 2nd half, but they finished when they needed too. During the 12th minute Alek Santo headed a corner across the goal to an open Parker Austin who finished with another header. The score stayed 1-0 through the 1st half. Desoto wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Stephen Mitchell tied the game up with 26 minutes to play. The Rockets responded with eight minutes left by a goal from Chance Beckham. The Rocket’s future looked bright with three minutes left as they continued to fend off wave after wave. A volley from De Soto’s Glynn Leininger would tie the game with only 1:48 to play. The Rockets made it through both 10-minute overtimes scoreless. Both teams had opportunities, but neither could finish. Rose Hill played two more five-minute golden goal overtimes. The game stayed scoreless, and they were headed into a shootout. The Rocket’s first pk was blocked and Stitcher walked up to his goal. In his pre-pk ritual he actually slipped and fell. He let the first two goals go. After two rounds De Soto was up 2-1 and things looked grim for the Rockets. The next round Stitcher made a great save on a hard low shot towards the right side of the goal to tie it up. The Rocket’s third round pk bounced off the post and off of the back of De Soto’s goalie’s head and went in. Both teams made the fourth shot and fifth shots with one of De Soto’s shots catching Stitcher’s fingertips as it went in. The shootout moved to sudden death. Parker Smith made the first shot in the 6th round and so did Lamar from De Soto. The Rocket’s missed the next pk and it looked as if De Soto was one shot from going to the championship. Stitcher had other plans for his senior year. He made a diving save to keep their hopes alive. The Rocket’s made a great 8th shot but then De Soto made just as great a save. Once again Stitcher had to make the save to just stay alive. Stitcher made his third save, catching the diving save to the left. Logan Santo kept the Rocket’s momentum making the 9th pk. De Soto stayed alive making their shot also. Stitcher actually took the Rocket’s 10th pk and scored after already saving three penalty shots. De Soto hit a hard low and left shot, but Stitcher got a hand on it and ended the game. Stitcher kept the Rocket’s hopes alive after a well-fought game from the whole team. The Rockets were one win away from the dream. They had a rematch from the 2013 state championship with Bishop Miege. The championship was much more windy than the night before. This was Miege’s third championship appearance in a row and they were outhustled the entire game. Miege controlled the first ten minutes of the game, but after the start it was all Rockets. Chace Beckham scored the lone goal of the game 22 minutes into the match. The power shifted back and forth some with great defense from both sides. The game remained scoreless with a few close calls against Rose Hill in the closing minutes. The Rockets kept fighting and kept their lead for the final buzzer. Rose Hill was finally state champs. After four defeats in the state championship game, the Rockets had done it. The Rockets look toward continuing their strong tradition.