League honors 3 Basehor-Linwood athletes
After one of its best seasons ever, the Basehor-Linwood soccer team was sure to have some players selected to the all-Kaw Valley League teams. But for one of them to come from the team's ultra-young defensive corps, was a bit of a surprise.
Sophomore sweeper Sam Seaman joined senior goalie Zach Lowe and junior forward Austin Knipp on the all-league teams. Even more surprising was that Seaman made the all-league first team, signifying that the league coaches thought of him as one of the Kaw Valley's four top defenders.
"Not that I didn't think he was capable, but being young and kind of a first-year varsity starter, it really kind of surprised me and him," Basehor-Linwood coach Kevin Vincent said. "He definitely deserved it, being the anchor of our defense."
Indeed, Seaman's youth may have been offset by the fact that his defensive mates were two freshmen and one sophomore. In their company Seaman appeared mature and experienced throughout the season and was forced into a leadership role.
Never was Lowe's heart, leadership and skill more apparent than in his last game against Maranatha Academy. Lowe made 21 saves, many of them spectacular, diving stops, and held off the defending champion Eagles until the fourth overtime.
Despite all of his highlight-reel saves and booming free kicks, Lowe was relegated to the all-league second team by Lansing's Alex Burton. Burton's team finished tops in the league at 14-2, which may have had more to do with his first-team selection than how he compared individually to Lowe.
"He was a great keeper, and when it came down to it, unfortunately, ...I think their record helped him," Vincent said.
Knipp's selection to the first-team came as a surprise to no one. It was the third straight year he was picked as one of the league's top three forwards and, with 23 goals in 17 games, it was hard to argue with his numbers.
If there were ever any doubts about Knipp's all-league status this year, he put them to rest against Maranatha. In the year's biggest game he stepped up and had his best performance, scoring all three Bobcats' goals. His final goal, which put BLHS up 3-2, was a spectacular postage-stamp free kick into the upper-right corner.
Having two first-team and one second-team selection was a fitting end to a season in which the Bobcats finally became competitive against the Kaw Valley League's top teams.
"I think we accomplished a lot of great things along the way," Vincent said. "As the season went on I think we realized we were capable of more than we had been in the past and that we had a lot of good things to look forward to in the future."