Lady ‘Cats’ 1-2 punch earns all-state honors
The Basehor-Linwood girls soccer team just capped a season in which it achieved the best record in the program's history. The Kaw Valley League took notice.
When the all-KVL selections were announced, BLHS had three members on the first team, one member of the second team, and one who earned honorable mention.
Jessica Smith, Shanna Couch and Shae Sawalich were all named to the first team. Jessica Smith was also named to the all-state first team. Couch was named to the all-state second-team. Both Smith and Couch were second-team all-state selections last season, as well.
"We have many good players, but when you get a player, or multiple players on the all-state list, it brings press and gives credit to the girls that work hard year round preparing for the season," BLHS coach Kevin Vincent said.These girls will help pave the way for girls in the future.oaches need to see the name Basehor-Linwood on the all-state list and know that means great players."
Smith was the team's most dangerous offensive weapon. She finished the season with 25 goals and six assists.
"Jessica had a breakout season," Vincent said.She has quietly scored goals in the past, but this year, as a junior, her goal total and level of play put her on the radar for each team we played.he was the player that made us feel that no matter the deficit, we are never out of the game.he contributed much more than goals, she made the rest of the team better by setting them up for success."
Shanna Couch was perhaps the team's best all-around player, as she netted 14 goals and 17 assists.
"Shanna was a key player on the team," Vincent said.She always played at the highest level.he was instrumental in building our offensive attack.s is evident by her 17 assists, she set many of our goal scorers up for quality goals.he has a great ability to see the field and distribute the ball exactly where it needs to go.he is one of the toughest players on the team, as well, and played through an injury for a large part of the season."
As a defenseman, Sawalich's stats were gaunt. She finished with one goal. Rival coaches could see the aggressiveness she played with, however, and that led to her inclusion on the all-KVL first team. She finished on the second team last year, her first season of organized soccer.
"I was excited," Sawalich said of hearing the news. "It's a step up from last year. It gives me something to build upon. I think we had a really good defensive team both years. Megan O'Bryan made all-Kaw Valley League. She has improved a lot. Ashley and Amber (Jeannin) came over from basketball and helped us out a lot. They are obviously good defenders on the basketball court and were able to carry that over onto the soccer field."
The BLHS coach recognized Sawalich's ability to prevent goals.
"Shae was the anchor of our defense," Vincent said.She orchestrated the defense and was key in shutting down any attack.he was fearless in going in to take the ball away from opponents.hae knew where to be and how to chase players down should they get by."
Sawalich said the individual awards speak to a strong team.
"I think every little thing means something to me," Sawalich said of the award. "But it isn't just me personally getting an award. As a team, individuals get those awards because of the strength of the team. So the team contributes a lot. You have to have a team to work with."
O'Bryan received second-team status.
Audrey Brock was named as an honorable mention.
Of the five Lady Bobcats honored, only Sawalich was a senior.
Brock, Couch, O'Bryan and Smith were all juniors and are all expected to be back next season.
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