The Wichita Eagle and Varsity Kansas has released its 15th annual All-Metro Girls Soccer Team, made up of the top 11 players from across the area.
Players were selected based on coaches’ nominations and personal evaluations, and regular season and postseason achievements. Here are the 2019 picks:
Bockover was Carroll’s most critical defensive piece through its postseason run.
The sister of last year’s All-Metro pitcher, Brady Bockover, Taylor continued her family name in 2019 and led the Golden Eagles to an 18-2-0 record and their first top three finish at state since 2015.
Carroll was one of the top defensive teams in Kansas this season. Although playing in the hit-or-miss City League, the Eagles pitched shutouts against the likes of 6A runner-up Washburn Rural and Maize South in their 5A regional championship game. Bockover was one of the biggest reasons.
Bockover’s pace was key to tracking down attackers, and though undersized, her strength was her surprising positive. She rarely missed a pass and was effective going forward.
Bockover’s All-Metro selection marks Carroll’s first in the back line since Maguire Sullivan in 2015, who was a freshman at the time.
Breault is your classic box-to-box midfielder.
Unafraid to dive into a tackle or push the limits of a yellow card, Breault was the first line of defense in the Valley Center defense. And on the other side of the pitch, she was often the one to get a buildup started.
Breault was a fringe All-Metro selection last year but just missed out. She left no doubt in 2019, leading Valley Center to its first top three finish in Class 5A since 2013 with a 17-2-0 record. The Hornets beat McPherson 1-0 on the road to clinch their spot in the final four.
Breault filled in where last year’s All-Metro selection Emma Girtz played last year. It was a massive question heading into the season, and Breault answered the bell. She was on the ball more than any other Valley Center player and served as an emotional leader through the Hornets’ state run.
“It was a really special experience making it to state because I haven’t all the years that I’ve been (at Valley Center),” Breault said. “Knowing the talent that’s out there and being told that I’m among it is really awesome.”
Since the Eagle introduced the All-Metro Girls Soccer Team in 2005, Maize has never not had a player on the team.
Although the Eagles entered 2019 with a lot of question marks and players coming off injuries, Davis served as a calming factor in the middle of the field. And with a pond of talented midfielders, particularly attacking midfielders, Davis was among the best in the Wichita area.
She finished the season with 18 goals and 11 assists in her senior season. Maize did not enter the season with an out-and-out goal-scorer as it has had in the past, but Davis provided an offensive spark from the No. 10 role behind the forwards.
Maize finished 2019 with a 14-4-1 record and another Class 5A regional championship. The Eagles’ streak of three straight top three finishes at state came to a close, but given the obstacles they had to overcome, Maize undoubtedly had some successes, including a 14th straight AVCTL I title.
“I’ve grown up playing with a bunch of these girls and playing against them, and I know how great they all are; so it’s really great to be recognized,” Davis said. “Thinking of the players that have been (at Maize) before me and knowing that I get to represent here like they did is really cool. We’ve had girls like Katie McClure (Kansas) and Ashley Zane (Kansas State) and all those girls that as a freshman, I looked up to.”
Gallo is gone.
With undoubtedly the most illustrious career of the 2019 All-Metro selections, Gallo capped her senior season in dramatic fashion with Wichita North’s first girls soccer regional championship since 2013.
After losing to City League rival Wichita East twice in a week, North bounced back with a 2-1 road win in the regional title game to reach the Class 6A quarterfinals.
Gallo was the engine to the Redskins’ successes in 2019. She finished her senior season with an area-best 38 goals and 19 assists. She was the most elusive player maybe in all of Kansas, prolific at beating players off the dribble. And this season, she improved dramatically at her ball distribution and strength on the ball.
She said to know she left her mark at North with a regional title is rewarding.
“It was definitely one of the best moments we’ve ever felt as a team and individually because that was one of our main goals ever since the beginning of the season,” Gallo said. “(Getting this honor) is also rewarding, especially when I play with these girls in club. It makes me feel welcome and makes me feel that I’ve put a lot of work in and that it pays off.”
Without question, the goalkeeper spot on the 2019 All-Metro team was the most challenging to decide.
Klumpp and Bishop Carroll’s Madison Wingler battled for the honor all season. Wingler was named the Class 5A Goalkeeper of the Year and has earned a starting nod for FC Wichita at just 15 years old. But Klumpp proved to be every bit as talented in 2019.
Nicknamed, “Spirah,” for her Spider-Man-like reactions, Klumpp kept Valley Center in every game through the state tournament, including a 1-0 road state quarterfinal win over McPherson and penalty kick victory over Hays in the Hornets’ regional championship game.
Klumpp and Wingler play for the same club, Wichita Rush. They train together and are close, Klumpp said. She said she was surprised with her selection and wishes there could be two goalkeepers in the squad.
“I thought Madi was going to get it,” Klumpp said. “It’s a really big honor to get this, but it could have gone either way. ... I’m really close with all the seniors, so I wanted to make it a memorable year for all of them, but a few games in, we found out (coach Steen) Danielsen was leaving, too. So that just pushed us even more.”
There might not be a player in the Wichita area who is on the ball more than Lubbers.
Verbally committed to Kansas State, Lubbers stepped into a leadership role as a junior replacing the likes of Maguire Sullivan and Hanleigh Allen. She led Bishop Carroll to a two-loss season, Titan Classic title, City League championship, regional title and quarterfinal victory.
The Golden Eagles earned their first top three finish at state since 2015.
Lubbers’ effectiveness on the ball was most impressive. She rarely missed a pass or made a poor decision. She was strong in the defensive end and quick to transition to the opposite half.
All this came off a spell of wild injuries, including a broken tibia and fibula. Early this season, coach Greg Rauch called her the “bionic woman,” for her ability to fight through the pain and get back on the pitch.
Like Maize’s Cammie Davis, Kapaun’s Emily Michaelis kept a streak alive in 2019.
Kapaun has never missed a year on the Eagle’s All-Metro team, and Michaelis took the nod in her last shot. One of two seniors for the Crusaders, Michaelis led in her own way. She wasn’t demonstrative, more steady, and that helped the Crusaders to a City League championship.
The City League was decided in the final two games between four teams; Kapaun came out on top.
Michaelis finished with 12 goals and a team-high 11 assists. She was named to the Class 5A first team All-State and is committed to Washburn University for her pace down the right wing, venomous delivery and the skill to cut the ball inside and strike for goal.
Kapaun didn’t have its best season in school history, but many of the good things the Crusaders went through in 2019 were in part because of Michaelis.
“There is a lot of pride in being here; you’ve worked your butt off for so long, so it’s just exciting to be recognized,” Michaelis said. “All the years before me, we’ve had big senior leaders, and I just wanted to give that to the younger girls and leave something behind to be proud of and that when I go back for alumni games, to know that I was a part of it.”
Palmer leaped into the All-Metro squad last year and continued her outstanding Maize South career as a junior.
Named the MVP of arguably the deepest, most talented league in the Wichita area, AVCTL II, Palmer finished the season with 17 goals and eight assists while battling through injuries.
Maize South had to battle in 2019, and though the Mavericks entered the postseason as the No. 9 seed in Class 5A West, they were potentially a goal away from a regional championship over eventual third-place finisher Bishop Carroll on the road.
Palmer’s resume will continue to grow over the next 12 months before she plans to attend Emporia State with one more shot at getting Maize South over the regional championship hump.
“It’s always hard when you have injuries, but it just made our team closer, and we saw a lot of underclassmen get to step up, and it gives us a lot of hope for next year,” Palmer said. “(This honor) isn’t about everything I do. I have some great teammates on the field that get me to where I’m at and coaches, too. It’s not really me; it’s just my team.”
One of three Valley Center representatives on the All-Metro roster, Ray was a beam of stability in the back for the Hornets.
Ray had to pair with a new center back partner in 2019 after losing Sydney Martens, an AVCTL II first team selection last year, and she made it look seamless. Valley Center was one of the strongest defensive teams int he Wichita area thanks in large part to Ray’s poise in the final third.
With outstanding closing speed and a slide tackle that cut down some of the best players in Kansas, Ray’s value to Valley Center’s third-place finish at state was unquestionable.
Ray is the first Valley Center defender to earn an All-Metro selection.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet and surreal feeling to know that we placed third at state,” Ray said. “Walking into the season we were a little uneasy about it, saying that we lost two very important players, but over the practices and constant team bonding, it helped everyone group together and become a family. Our connections on and off the field were just exceptional.”
When Reed got to Collegiate, the Spartans had little soccer tradition; the program was new and unproven.
Because of Reed, Collegiate has made a name for itself. She finished her high school career with four school records and a pair of All-Metro selections. Reed was the first Collegiate selection last year and now the fist two-timer.
Reed was one of the top two point-scorers in the Wichita area last year and was again in 2019. She finished with 36 goals and 16 assists, helping the Spartans to an 11-6-0 record. They were a win over rival Trinity Academy away from a spot in the Class 4-1A state quarterfinals.
Reed is set to join William-Jewell next season.
Walker and North’s Nayeli Gallo are the only two players out of the Wichita area to earn Class 6A first team All-State honors.
Walker earned it for good reason as one of the most powerful and daunting defenders in all of Kansas. She accepted every challenge head-on, won the North Cup and kept Wichita East in the City League title hunt through the end of the season and had the Aces one goal away from another 6A regional championship.
Walker started every game in the back line, but if East went down, she was quick to move up top and play as a striker. When East needed a spark, Walker stepped in.
Before Walker’s All-Metro selection last year, no East defender had been picked since Becca Wagner in 2006.
“I love playing soccer; I just love the game,” she said. “I got into every game like it’s my last game. It sounds kind of cliche, but it’s just giving it all I have and enjoying every moment because there’s a time when I won’t be playing soccer anymore. So I just appreciate the moments and try my hardest in every game.”
With every break in the action or halftime, Wichita North was almost always the last team to take the field.
Redskins coach Curt Wullschleger was the biggest reason, spending every moment he could getting instructions to his side, and it paid off. Wichita North won its first girls soccer regional championship since 2013 with a 2-1 road win over rival Wichita East. It was Wullschleger’s first with the girls.
North finished the season 14-5-0 as City League and North Cup runner-up. Wullschleger’s All-Metro selection in 2019 marks his first of his career. He said he was humbled for the honor.
He said building relationships with girls who he believes will go on to become great citizens is the most rewarding thing from this season.
“I’m very honored, and I do appreciate it very much,” he said. “I was very surprised when I found out about this. It was very unexpected. I was in my garden, playing with my kids and planting some flowers when I got the text. I was pretty shocked, so to be rewarded with some accolades for all your hard work, it’s nice to be recognized by your peers.”