After the emotion subsided, Wichita Trinity girls soccer coach Tom Nykamp opted to take positives from an early 5-0 loss to Bishop Carroll.
Nykamp thought he had the right lineup. That game showed him the combinations he used were wrong, but the personnel was still capable.
"That was kind of the test to see, do we have the players," Nykamp said. "I saw them fight through the end in that game, so I knew we had the players. It was just that nothing clicked."
The Knights have thrived since the Carroll loss, and a stumble two games later against Buhler was their last defeat.
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Trinity (15-2) has won nine straight entering tonight's Class 5-1A regional championship game against Hutchinson.
Nykamp spent the first half of the season looking for the best on-field mix. He settled on starting three freshmen and eight sophomores.
"Things were a little bumpy early on," Nykamp said. "But we smoothed things out and figured out where girls needed to play. We just kind of solidified our starting 11 and things have started rolling."
As the Carroll loss prompted Nykamp to alter the lineup, a 2-1 win against Hays in the championship of the North Cup tournament on May 3 indicated to him that the changes were paying off.
Trinity hasn't allowed more than one goal in a game since a 3-2 win over Maize South on April 12.
"We were possessing and getting shots, we just couldn't score," Nykamp said. "Things were clicking and I knew it was going to happen, and finally we scored then won in overtime. I knew all along that good things would happen."
The Knights are led by senior forward Allie Blankenship. Of her 22 goals, several have been game-winners, and Nykamp said her presence makes the game easier for Trinity's younger players.
"It makes them a lot more comfortable and there's a lot less pressure," Nykamp said. "Teams double (Blankenship) and that leaves other girls open. They don't feel pressure, they just make it happen."
Tonight's other games _ Several other area teams attempt to reach the state quarterfinals tonight:
* Derby at Maize, 7 p.m.
* East at Heights, 6 p.m.
* Buhler at Andover Central, 6 p.m.
* Hays vs. Kapaun Mount Carmel at Newman, 7 p.m.
* McPherson at Salina Central, 6 p.m.
The game between Northwest and Garden City has been moved to Friday at Garden City to accommodate graduation.