Couch, Smith named All-State
Kevin Vincent has no doubt seniors Shanna Couch and Jessica Smith have played big roles in the growth of the Basehor-Linwood High School girls soccer program.
In fact, Vincent, the Lady Bobcats' fourth-year coach, said the program's steady progress would have been impossible without them.
The rest of the state's coaches apparently agreed, because they selected Couch and Smith to the Class 5-1A All-State second team.
"They have worked hard for four years, and the fact that they were recognized by coaches around the state really says a lot about the hard work and effort that they put in every day all year round," Vincent said. "They were freshmen when I started coaching at Basehor-Linwood, so I was very fortunate to have both of them when I started. They just continued to get better every year, and they were a key part to getting the program to where it is now."
Statistically, their impact was noticed on the offensive end of the field, where both were forwards.
Smith was one of the Kaw Valley League's most feared scorers as she buried 28 goals this season.
"Jessica is a constant threat to score," Vincent said. "No matter the score, we felt that as long as Jessica was on the field there was no lead that was insurmountable."
Couch was a big reason that Smith was so dangerous. Couch frequently had the assist on Smith's goals, and Couch also tallied eight goals of her own.
"What she contributes on the field as far as leadership and developing our offense and transitioning from the defense to offense is almost irreplaceable," Vincent said.
The All-State honors are simply the latest bit of praise for the Basehor duo. Smith earned first-team All-Kaw Valley League honors and Couch was on the league's second team this season. Both were first-team honorees in 2007.
Couch and Smith will play soccer in college. Both committed to play at Johnson County Community College earlier this spring. Smith still plans to do so, but Couch changed her mind a few weeks ago. Vincent said Couch now plans to play at the Citadel, an NCAA Division I military school in Charleston, S.C.
Couch is Vincent's first Division I player, and he said he is pleased for her.
"It shows that even people from Basehor-Linwood, which hasn't been known as a soccer powerhouse, that there's still some players that are excelling and doing great things and have the ability to move on to the next level," Vincent said.