WICHITA, Kan.—After two ten-minute over times, two five-minute overtimes, two shootouts, the Trinity Academy Knights pulled out a win over the Rose Hill Rockets Friday night.
After two scoreless halves, the Knights and Rockets went into long and tense overtimes.
Whoever won this game would go to sub-state, so staying calm was an important factor from both teams.
“It was really hard to keep cool, but I knew I had to because one mistake could end my high school career,” said senior Josh Snodgrass.
In the final penalty kick of the shootout, junior John Long took the last and game-winning shot.
“It felt amazing,” said Long. “I was so nervous when I walked up because I didn’t want to let my team down after making it so far, but after it went in, I was so excited. It felt like we had won the lottery. We played with our hearts and came together on a level that we've never done before and we got what we wanted,”
In an intense game like Friday, there has to be strong encouragement.
“[I encouraged them] by telling them things like ‘you feel tired but you’re really not. Keep pressing on. Keep battling. Stick to the plan,’” said Nykamp.
With a difficult season, it prepared the Knights for games like this. Nykamp was glad he played his team against harder teams during the season.
“That was my plan all along. It was hard for people to believe me, but I didn't doubt the strategy,” said Nykamp.
“The coaches did an amazing job preparing us for this game,” said Long. “Coach Nykamp and Coach Brooks gave us a difficult schedule on purpose so that we could get better by playing better teams. Even though our record isn't very good, they believed in us, they knew we could do better and they encouraged us.”
Nykamp didn’t think there was a ‘best player’ of the game.
“They all worked so hard, they all play such important roles. I can't just pick one-we are a team. There is no "I"or 1 in team,” said Nykamp.
The Knights play next Tuesday in Topeka. The players and coaches know the plan for the next game.
“I think that our strategy is to play smart, confident and go out there and give it everything we have. Mathew 19:26,” said Long.