Grace Linton has not won a state championship and it’s a fact that she and the other seniors on the Trinity Academy girls soccer team can attribute to Topeka Hayden.
The past three seasons have all ended the same way: in heartbreak and by Hayden.
“It’s something that eats at you,” Linton said. “It brings up a lot of frustration. But I think it gives us more of a kick to want to win. There’s 10 of us that are seniors and we want that championship.”
If there is a team Trinity, a traditionally strong program, has fielded, this may be the one to win the first championship. The Knights open their season Tuesday against Kapaun Mount Carmel.
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Essentially the entire attack returns from last season, in which Trinity devastated its opponents by controlling possession and, in turn, producing hordes of shots.
It starts with Taylor Billings, the creative mind behind the goals, in the midfield. She is capable of scoring, but has dedicated her skill toward breaking down defenses and sending her forwards into advantageous situations with her passes.
Pair that with quality finishers in Linton (39 goals last season) and Shiloh Miller (25) and the goals pile up.
“We (the forwards) get the attention for scoring the goal, but we’re not the ones that created it,” Linton said. “(The midfielders) are the ones that win the ball and set everything up. They definitely deserve more of the credit.”
There are concerns for coach Tom Nykamp, but scoring goals is not on the short list. Elise Alexander and freshman Ally Henderson are expected to start in what Nykamp calls a “loaded” midfield.
The Knights will have to fortify a defense that will start two inexperienced players, but having a senior like Brynley Orndorff as the captain in the back alleviates worries. She will be joined by Caroline Zielke, and Kaelin Hoch in goal.
This season Trinity will host Hayden in the fifth game of the season on April 8. This time it won’t end or extend the season, but it will certainly remind the Knights of what they’re playing for this season.
“There’s not a lot that we have to do as coaches,” Nykamp said. “They know. All of the girls are extremely motivated by that. They don’t like to lose to anyone. I think you are going to see a very motivated team this season.”
AREA GIRLS SOCCER PLAYERS TO WATCH
Andover: Ana Dilkes, sr., F; Lizzie Scharping, sr., D; Brogan Becker, sr., MF; Katie Walker, sr., D.
Andover Central: Masen Stamp, jr., D; Gabby Gentzler, jr., MF; Caitlin Orgera, sr., MF; Madison Zimmer, sr., MF; Maddie Clark, so., D; Krissy Navrat, so., D.
Arkansas City: Stephanie Cabrera, jr., MF; Sandra Martinez, jr., D.
Augusta: Shelby Clay, jr., F; Kaeley Hansen, sr., MF; Brittany Johnson, so., D.
Buhler: Hannah Balding, sr., F; Elle Fredrickson, sr., F; Kylee Ingalls, so., MF; Maggie Starr, so., MF; Sinclair Allen, jr., D; Paige Miller, so., D.
Circle: Kristen Todd, sr., MF; Jill McCoy, so., F; Aubrey Olson, jr., F; Alison Kirkham, jr., D; Leah Metzger, jr., D; Dallas Winter, so., GK.
Derby: Kelsi Greenstreet, sr., MF; Elizabeth DeCristoforo, jr., GK; Hanna Newhouse, jr., MF; Sara West, jr., D; Megan Martinez, jr., F; Sadie Harper, jr., D.
Eisenhower: Kayleigh Moore, sr., MF; Jaclyn Means, sr., F; Carissa Butler, sr., D; Cassidy Hardin, jr., F; Taylor Martinez, so., MF; Heather Bondie, jr., MF.
Goddard: Maria Casenove, jr., F; Kenzie Klaassen, jr., F; Kylie Logan, jr., MF; Eirin Haislett, sr., MF; Sydne Harpenau, sr., MF; Kelsey Smith, sr., D; Taylor Spelts, sr., D; Kylee Lawrence, sr., GK.
Maize: Hadley Davis, sr., MF; Kelsey Quick, jr., F; Paige Swanson, jr., F; Addison Kingrey, jr., D; Becca Andrus, sr., MF; Katie McClure, so., F; Ashley Zane, so., MF; Tanna Benefiel, so., D; Saige Baalman, jr., GK.
Maize South: Ryann Burnett, jr., F; Caroline Howard, jr., GK; Madison Adams, sr., MF; Austyn Nestor, jr., D; Rachael Schremmer, jr., D.
McPherson: Addie Lanning, sr., D; Shaelah White, sr., GK; Janaye Hanschu, sr., D; Paige Schmidt, so., F; Michelle Carrillo, so., MF.
Mulvane: Riley George, sr., F; Katie Fox, sr., MF; Evan Hladik, jr., D; Olyvia Bish, sr., GK.
Newton: Taylor Edson, so., MF; Kate Zinn, jr., F; Hannah Carlgren, sr., D, Chloe Woodward, jr., F; Ashley Akers, jr., MF; Afton Moore, jr., D; Leilani Medina, MF, sr.
Rose Hill: Dominic Millsap, jr., MF; Hanna Kanaak, jr., D; Emily Terrell, sr., MF; Meredith Bartley, jr., GK.
Valley Center: Bailey Hogan, sr., D; Courtney Yochum, sr., MF; Brittany Thorne, sr., D; Abbie Lawrence, jr., MF; Madi Callender, so., F; Evann Shelton, so., F; Bethany Reeves, fr., GK.
Winfield: Taylor Spencer, jr., MF; Madison Pollock, jr., F; Karrie McNutt, sr., MF; Jess Burtnett, sr., D; Caitlyn Dougherty, sr., D; Maddie Pergorsch, sr., GK.
GIRLS SOCCER SCHEDULE
25 – Augusta at Circle, Goddard at East, Carroll at Eisenhower, Ark City at Maize, Campus at Newton, Garden City at Northwest, McPherson at Salina South, Trinity at Kapaun; 27 – Ark City at Andover Central, Andover at Campus, Buhler at Newton, Valley Center at Salina South, Rose Hill at Goddard, Derby at Eisenhower, South at Maize South, Salina Central at McPherson, Carroll at Emporia, Augusta at Trinity, Washburn Rural at Kapaun, Valley Center at Mulvane, Winfield at Emporia; 31 -April 5 – Titan Classic at South; 31 – Junction City at Ark City, West at Circle, Sunrise at Independent.
15 – Goddard-Carroll tournament, McPherson tournament; 3 – Circle at Mulvane, Trinity at Valley Center, West at Junction City, Thomas More Prep at Independent; 8 – North at East, Carroll at Heights, West at Kapaun, South at Northwest, Goddard at Hutchinson, Rose Hill at Campus, Andover at Newton, Maize South at Derby, Maize at Andover Central, Valley Center at Buhler, Circle at Independent, Topeka Hayden at Trinity; 10 – Augusta at Mulvane, McPherson at Hutchinson, Buhler at Salina South, Andover Central at Derby, Campus at Goddard, Salina Central at Eisenhower, Newton at Valley Center, Ark City at Rose Hill, Independent at South, Emporia at Northwest; 11 – Ark City at Andover, Winfield at Circle, West at Word of Life, Mulvane at Campus, Maize South at Trinity, Dodge City at South, Rose Hill at East; 14 – Mulvane at Buhler, Maize South at Salina Central, Derby at Ark City, Thomas More Prep at Independent, Carroll at Trinity; 15 – Mulvane at Winfield, Buhler at Circle, Carroll at West, Southeast at East, Heights at Northwest, North at South, Andover Central at Hutchinson, Eisenhower at Campus, Goddard at Newton, Salina South at Andover, Trinity at Rose Hill, Valley Center at McPherson, Independent at Augusta; 17 – North at West, Kapaun at Northwest, East at South, Southeast at Heights, McPherson at Newton, Andover Central at Salina Central, Winfield at Derby, Campus at Ark City, Maize at Andover, Hutchinson at Valley Center, Goddard at Buhler, Eisenhower at Rose Hill, Wichita Home School at Independent, Salina South at Maize South, Highland Park at Southeast, Sunrise Christian at West, Maize at Olathe Northwest; 21 – Andover at Ark City, Eisenhower at Valley Center, Augusta at McPherson, Circle at Winfield, Newton at Andover Central, Southeast at Topeka West, Trinity at Independent; 22 – Salina South at Maize, Newton at Salina Central, Hutchinson at Derby, Andover Central at Goddard, Rose Hill at McPherson, Buhler at Augusta, Mulvane at Circle, Carroll at North, Kapaun at Southeast, West at East, Heights at South, Campus at Maize South, Independent at Sunrise Christian, Trinity at Dodge City; 24 – Maize South at Ark City; Goddard at Eisenhower, Andover at Andover Central, Northwest at East, Southeast at North, South at Carroll, Kapaun at Heights, Independent at Wichita Home School, Derby at Valley Center, Hutchinson at Buhler, Word of Life at West; 25 – Winfield at Mulvane, Rose Hill at Circle, SM East at Maize South, Dodge City at Heights; 28 – Mulvane at Augusta, North at Junction City, Independent at Word of Life; 29 – Salina South at Hutchinson, Campus at Maize, Newton at Derby, Maize South at Goddard, Eisenhower at Andover Central, Ark City at Valley Center, Circle at Buhler, McPherson at Winfield, Northwest at North, Southeast at Carroll, East at Kapaun, West at South, Andover at Salina Central, Thomas More Prep at Independent.
1 – Salina Central at Campus, Maize at Newton, Goddard at Ark City, Valley Center at Andover Central, Andover at Maize South, Augusta at Winfield, Buhler at Rose Hill, South at Southeast, Heights at North, Northwest at West, Kapaun at Carroll, Hutchinson at Eisenhower, Circle at Trinity; 2 – McPherson at Mulvane, South at Derby, East at Trinity, Aquinas at Carroll, Manhattan at Heights, Maize at Northwest; 5 – Campus at Hutchinson, Ark City at Winfield, Andover at Augusta, Valley Center at Trinity; 5-10 – North tournament; 6 – Newton at Salina South, Salina Central at Derby, Maize South at Eisenhower, Andover at Valley Center, Winfield at Rose Hill, South at Hutchinson, Hays at McPherson, Maize at Trinity, Manhattan at Northwest, Goddard at Carroll, Southeast at Great Bend, East at Dodge City; 8 – Hutchinson at Newton, Derby at Campus, Salina Central at Maize, Goddard at Andover, Eisenhower at Ark City, Valley Center at Maize South, Augusta at Rose Hil, Buhler at McPherson, Andover Central at Salina South, Trinity at Winfield, Northwest at Washburn Rural; 12 – Salina South at Campus, McPherson at Circle, West at Southeast, Augusta at Valley Center, Kapaun at Emporia; 13 – Hutchinson at Salina Central, Derby at Maize, Eisenhower at Andover, Andover Central at Maize South, Winfield at Buhler, Rose Hill at Mulvane, Carroll at Northwest, North at Kapaun, East at Heights, Newton at Ark City, Great Bend at McPherson, Word of Life at Independent; 15 – Maize at Hutchinson, Derby at Salina South, Valley Center at Goddard, Heights at West, Northwest at Southeast, East at Carroll, South at Kapaun, Winfield at Ark City, Mulvane at Eisenhower, Rose Hill at Andover Central, Thomas More Prep at North; 16 – Circle at Augusta, Buhler at Maize South.