BLHS’s all-state trio symbolic of a program on the rise
The 2006 season for the Basehor-Linwood boy's soccer team was the most prosperous in the school's brief history. It concluded with a 13-5-1 mark, easily a team record for wins, along with the school's first playoff win and first regional championship.
Last month marked the time of year for individuals to be recognized, and the Bobcats were represented well. Senior forward Austin Knipp was named all-state first team. Juniors Ryan Sirridge and Matt Murrell were named to the all-state second team.
The teams were selected by the state's coaches. After nominations are made, ballots are distributed for the coaches to vote upon. As it does with its postseason playoffs, the state groups Classes 1A-4A together on the same ballot.
"The fact that we had three players was a great accomplishment," Bobcats coach Kevin Vincent said. "The Basehor-Linwood soccer program is getting noticed."
Knipp was the team's headliner. He led all of Kansas with 35 goals as a senior. His 100 career goals are a Kansas state-record.
"His accomplishments speak for themselves," Vincent said.
The senior's goals often came at opportune moments, as well.
"On the field he just commands such a presence," Vincent said. "When we were down and needed a goal, we would look to Austin. He was always there."
Midfielder Ryan Sirridge helped form the backbone of the team.
"Ryan was kind of the guy that never quit," Vincent said. "His motor runs constantly. He always plays at a high level."
Sirridge was able to assume more of an offensive role during the course of the season as other teams stacked their defensive gameplans to stop Knipp.
"He became a serious threat offensively," Vincent said. "When teams were double-teaming our other forwards, Ryan took advantage of that and became a scoring threat."
BLHS goalie Matt Murrell thrived in his first year as a full-time player. After the graduation of Zach Lowe, Murrell was needed to step up as the last line of Bobcat defense.
"He was our vocal leader," Vincent said. "He was not afraid to take charge."
Murrell was also able to provide the intangibles that a coach loves.
"His leadership played a big role in our success," Vincent said.
Vincent was happy to see his players' hard work pay off.
"I was excited for them," Vincent said. "These players play for the love of the game."
Knipp will graduate with the status of the program in much better shape then when he began.
"These players took pride in being the first to accomplish these things in school history," Vincent said.
The future appears bright for the Bobcats.
"We're only losing two seniors," Vincent said. "They set the groundwork for the program. Our younger players know what it takes to get to that level."
This season's accomplishments have the Vincent and the rest of the returning Bobcats eager to return to the field.
"The taste of success has a lot of younger players craving more," Vincent said. "They know they can do it. It's going to take a lot of work. If they work hard, Basehor-Linwood can be a soccer powerhouse."