By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
It’s been a banner year for Bishop LeBlond athletics, and it’s not quite over yet.
The Golden Eagles’ girls’ soccer team looks to put their name in lights as they compete in the Class 1 Final Four this Friday and Saturday in Fenton.
"We're stoked up about going out and proving ourselves," LeBlond head soccer coach Chad Thompson said. "There's been a lot of talk and everything over the past couple of years. I'm hoping we prove ourselves right."
This is the fourth LeBlond team in this academic year alone to compete for a state championship, joining football, girls’ basketball and boys’ golf.
Thompson says these teams all have something in common.
"Everyone has a really, really good work ethic and they enjoy it," he said. "They're not doing it, because their friend is. Or, because Mom told them to or Dad told them they have to do something. They're out here, because they love the game."
LeBlond girls’ soccer (14-5) comes into this Final Four on a seven-match winning streak, most recently knocking off Barstow 2-1 in a state quarterfinal thriller this past Saturday.
Freshman Katie Sego scored what ended up being the go-ahead goal with 29:33 left in that match.
"Everyone has stepped up when they needed to on the field," Sego said. "It helped us all to grow with our connections, with our passing and talking. It really just helps a lot."
Sego is one of six freshmen on this year's varsity roster that was thrust into a bigger role this season with injuries popping up. Senior defender and Culver-Stockton soccer signee Emma Raines has been out all season due to an injury sustained in basketball season.
Defenders Charley Elliott and Maddie Angold have also had to miss significant time this spring.
Despite some hardships, outgoing senior and midfielder Emersyn McChristy has noticed just how hard the underclassmen have worked to fill the gaps.
"They've been doing good, learning quickly on how to fill those roles that we've lost people in," McChristy said. "They've grown together with us and have stepped up a lot."
Those adjustments and that growth have led LeBlond to their first Final Four appearance in program history. The Golden Eagles will first face Father Tolton (16-8-1) in state semifinals on Friday at noon at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park.
Villa Duchesne (9-11) and Saxony Lutheran (12-8) is the other semifinal matchup. LeBlond will play on Saturday - either for third place at 10 a.m. or for the grand prize at 11 a.m.
Whatever happens, whoever they play, Thompson says the goal this weekend is relatively simple.
"We're going down to have fun and play the best soccer we can play," he stated. "If we play the best soccer we can play, everything will be fine."
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