There was a ring of appreciation from the Maize South fans.
Maize South finished runner-up in the 2018 Kansas Class 5A boys soccer tournament after a 6-0 loss to two-time defending state champion Blue Valley Southwest on Saturday in Topeka, but coach Rey Ramirez said he was proud of what his team accomplished.
With the Mavericks’ 1-0 (5-4 penalty kicks) win over St. James Academy in the state semifinals Friday, they helped to create the first all-public school state championship in Class 5A since 2011. Ramirez said it is a sign of the payoff from all the positive opportunities offered in Wichita.
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“I can’t tell you how many emails, phone calls, text messages that I had, that our assistants had,” Ramirez said. “We had people here from Valley Center, from Andover, from the Wichita area. We have people here who have played in the past for us.
“Wichita soccer is a very united, very tight-knit community, and I think that’s going to help us grow.”
Blue Valley Southwest dominated the game in every way. They held at least double the possession, had more chances and shots. But the Mavericks’ presence in the title game was historic for the school that opened just nine years ago.
2018 marked the first soccer state championship appearance and second among all team sports for Maize South. The school doesn’t have a lot of history or tradition yet, so this year’s Mavericks squad was important in creating some.
“I think this set the bar,” senior midfielder Spencer Steinhoff said. “Now since we’re used to winning, that sets in I hope and that becomes the vibe.”
Steinhoff said he knew his team would be good, even had a chance at being great. But it always felt as if they were the underdogs, he said.
When the final whistle blew Saturday, Maize South had captured a share of the AVCTL II championship, regional title, sub-state championship and a spot in the 5A title game. They will be known as arguably the greatest team sports group in school history.
“There are many schools that can go decades without reaching a state championship game,” Ramirez said. “For these boys to have accomplished this in such a quick and swift fashion, when you look at the big picture, is just phenomenal.
“This just makes us hungry.”