Maize South wins first State Soccer Championship
TOPEKA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Recent history had not been kind to for Maize South when facing Blue Valley Southwest.
The two first met for the 2018 state title, and the Timberwolves cruised to a 6-0 win. Then the next fall, Maize South found the net, but still conceded 6 goals in finishing runner-up again. Finally, in 2021, the two sides met for a third time, and in the closest of the three matches, the Timberwolves still came out on top, taking in 3-2.
In 2022, things finally flipped in the favor of the Mavericks to the tune of a shut out win of their own, 3-0, to claim their first state championship in school history. It’s the first 5A title for a Wichita-metro school since Goddard won in 2002.
“We’ve succeeded this year because of those past failures,” said head coach Rey Ramirez, “I think that every single year we’ve gotten a step closer, every single year we’ve learned something about ourselves, about our program, about competing in the final four and winning a state championship.”
The win came a day after they needed some late game magic to knock off St. Thomas Aquinas. Ethan Turner scored late to secure a 3-2 win and set up the Mavericks for a shot at redemption Saturday.
“The heartbreak of last year, then the seniors before them and before them, [this win] has been four years coming,” said junior forward Vitor Geromel, “we’ve just been waiting for this moment, all the hard work we’ve been putting in, we knew it was going to pay off.”
Geromel got the scoring started for the Mavericks in the 24th minute, breaking a stalemate after neither side had a great opportunity to find the net.
“I just got it off my right foot,” said Geromel, “first touch was a little bit short, I saw the defender, took another one and I had space to shoot so I just hit it and it went right where I wanted it.”
The goal was the 42nd of the season for the Clemson soccer commit, adding to a school record, and the second in as many nights in Topeka.
Gavin Papacek added the second with just 22 seconds to play in the first half, a goal that almost didn’t happen after the senior deflected the ball toward the goal and the keeper was unable to secure the stop. Papacek kept his run toward the ball and finished off the second goal of the game for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Geromel nearly added a third a short time into the second half, seeing a header attempt come inches from finding the net but instead finding the crossbar. But the Mavericks wouldn’t be content at two goals.
In the 54th minute, Ethan Turner was set up for a throw in about 35 yards from the goal, and the toss hit Junior Quezada landed perfectly in front of Junior Quezada, who was just on side and had only the keeper to beat, winning the one-on-one and scoring the final insurance goal for the Mavericks.
“I knew if we scored one more goal this game’s over,” said the senior Quezada, “I knew if it was 3-0 this game was over, if it was 2-0 they could still come back, but 3-0, that would be it.”
And with the back line for the Mavericks preserving the shutout for the full 80 minutes, 3 goals turned out to be more than enough to get it done.
“Everybody sees the goals, everybody sees the assists, but that back line tonight was an example of the highest caliber defensive unit that the state has right now,” said Ramirez.
Added Geromel, “playing a 3-back is hard but each one of those guys held their own. I cannot tell you how proud of those guys I am.”
The Mavericks completed a perfect 21-0-0 season, the first team in Kansas to win 21 games in a single season since Dodge City achieved the feat in 2016.
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