Monarch soccer looks to continue season
By CONOR NICHOLL
Thomas More Prep-Marian freshman midfielder Megan Koenigsman and sophomore midfielder Racheal Hamel stood next to each other shortly after last Thursday's thrilling Class 4-3-2-1A South Central Regional 3 playoff game against Rose Hill. Both Monarchs had been on the field for nearly all of the 110-minute, four-overtime thriller that eventually ended with a TMP made penalty kick on the eighth PK after a 1-1 tie.
"Mostly I feel great right now, because we just won, but my body wise, I am pretty tired," Koenigsman said.
"I will feel it tomorrow morning," Hamel added.
Koenigsman, Hamel and their teammates' stamina greatly impressed coach Darryl Wellbrock after the biggest win in school history. TMP, which has just one senior and carries just 15 players on varsity, used every Monarch in the playoff win.
"The conditioning, the hard work that these girls put in, is unbelievable," Wellbrock said. "They probably hated it at times during the season, doing the extra practices, doing the extra stuff, but I can say one thing, most of them still love playing soccer and that is key.
"You can see that the way that they play - their passion for the game to play soccer the way it should be played," he added.
TMP's talent and endurance is one of the main reasons why the Monarchs remain alive in the Class 4-3-2-1A playoffs. TMP, with a huge turnaround this spring, is the No. 3 seed at 8-2-2.
They are set to play at second-seeded Wichita Trinity (14-3-1) in a quarterfinal matchup at 6:30 p.m. today.
Trinity and TMP were supposed to match up April 17, but the game was cancelled.
The Monarchs easily are the least experienced team left in the South Central Regional quarters.
Top-seeded Winfield was state runner-up last year. Second-seeded Hayden, which plays Winfield in the other quarterfinal, is the two-time defending state champion, finished as runner-up in 2011 and in the final four in '10. Trinity was runner-up two years ago. Even Rose Hill was a final four participant in 2011. This marks the first quarterfinal game in TMP history.
"We are so young," Wellbrock said. "The sophomores and freshmen are unbelievable."
Hamel assisted on the Monarchs' goal on a great pass to sophomore Annaka Applequist. Hamel and Koenigsman helped TMP outplay Rose Hill in the first half and win the team's first OT game of the year; the Monarchs were 0-1-2 in overtime before Rose Hill. In the PKs, Hamel and Koenigsman each scored on their attempts.
Applequist played multiple positions. Applequist has six goals this season, Koenigsman five and Hamel with three. Applequist has scored in the last three games. Sophomore Bailey Hageman paces the Monarchs with 13 goals.
Applequist is normally the stopper, but to give Koenigsman and Hamel a break, Wellbrock moved Applequist to center mid, and brought in Olivia Herbel, a girl who has played mainly junior varsity, but played well against Rose Hill.
When sophomore sweeper Tyra Younie suffered an ankle injury in the final five minutes of regulation, Applequist went from stopper to sweeper.
"She is a soccer player," Wellbrock said. "I can put her anywhere on the field. You can put her up top, you can put her in the middle. She can play all the positions. She is not a position player. She is a soccer player, and that's where the team is headed. That's what I want them all to be, so I have options."