Louisburg coach Kyle Conley was named as the Class 4-1A Coach of the Year by the Kansas Soccer Coaches Association for the second straight season.
Coming off its second consecutive
state runner-up appearance, the Louisburg girls soccer team has had some
positive repercussions recently from its historic season.
However, none bigger came last
week when the all-state teams were released by the Kansas Soccer Coaches
Association. Not only did six Wildcats earn all-state selections, but they were
honored with some of the highest awards out there.
Junior Mackenzie Scholtz was named
as the Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Class 4-1A with Bishop Miege’s Sophia
Stram after she led the Wildcats in scoring.
Louisburg was also recognized on the
other side of the ball as senior Carson Buffington was named the Class 4-1A
Goalkeeper of the Year.
“Seeing Mackenzie and Carson recognized
for their positional player of the years was fantastic,” Louisburg coach Kyle
Conley said. “They both had incredible years.”
The Wildcats weren’t done, as for the second consecutive season, Conley was named as the Class 4-1A Coach of the Year as he guided Louisburg to a 17-4 record. He also led the Wildcats to three consecutive final four appearances.
“It is a great honor to be the coach of the year for the second straight year,” Conley said. “It is extremely humbling to be recognized and voted by my peers. The part that gets left out of these awards is my assistant Michael Pickman. Without Mike, none of this is possible. He is there by my side, each and every day. He is as devoted and supporting as any friend I have. He’s a fantastic coach in his own right. Especially, what he does with our goalkeepers has been outstanding. Our goalkeepers have been exceptional since the beginning and at all levels.”
One of those goalkeeping students has been Buffington as she
took advantage of her first full season starting in net. Buffington broke a
school record with 13 shutouts, saves in a season (115), only allowed 20 goals
all season and recorded 17 wins.
Buffington’s biggest moment of the season came in the state
semifinals when she saved three Topeka-Hayden penalty kicks that helped give
Louisburg a 2-1 win over the Wildcats and a spot in the state championship.
“When I saw I was goalkeeper of the year, I was extremely
surprised,” Buffington said. “I had absolutely no idea I would get it. It is
such an honor. It feels so amazing to receive this award, but without my
defense it would’ve been impossible. I thought I had my best season yet and I
was very confident and determined. It was definitely the most fun season I’ve
ever had and I’m upset it has to be over already.”
The honor came as a surprise for Buffington as she was named a
second-team all-league goalkeeper in the Frontier League just days earlier. For
Conley, the all-state honors is what Buffington deserved.
“Carson, in her first full season, just had an impressive year,”
Conley said. “She broke and set some records that may never be touched. She
saved three big penalty kicks against Hayden for us. I have been in the game a
long time, and in penalty kick shootouts more than my fair share, and it’s
extremely rare to see a keeper at this level save three out of six. I honestly
felt with her stats she should have been first team all-league goalkeeper, but
it is what it is I guess.”
Scholtz also had a record-setting season for the Wildcat offense
as there were times during the 2019 season that she couldn’t be stopped. She
set school records for goals in a season (39), goals in a career (98), hat
tricks in a season (9), hat tricks in a career (18), points in a season (84),
points in career (235) and game-winning goals (10).
The Louisburg junior shared the award with Stram, who scored
four goals against Louisburg in the state championship game and has committed to
Saint Louis University.
“To win offensive player of the year with an SLU commit was
really amazing,” Scholtz said. “What that meant to me was it said that I played
just as hard as her and competed just as well. I felt really proud of myself
and I felt like I gave it all I had.
“I was really determined to make it back to the final four and I
was going to do whatever it took to get us there.”
Conley also liked what he saw from his junior forward that had a
big season in the Frontier League.
“She had an incredible year,” Conley said. “Mac broke so many
records and they were all impressive. It was truly a special season for her.”
Along with Buffington and Scholtz, the Wildcats had three other
players earn first team all-state honors. Juniors Erin Lemke and Trinity Moore
were named as a forward and midfielder, respectively, while defender Kaitlyn
Lewer was also selected to the first team.
Junior defender Avery O’Meara was also recognized for her play
in the back as she earned second team all-state honors.
“It is truly unbelievable to see so many
Louisburg Wildcats receive this tremendous honor,” Conley said. “There are 25 teams
in the classification of 4-1A girls soccer, which is roughly 500-550 kids that
could be eligible for this award and based on our win percentage, we had six
student athletes eligible to represent our school. Every one of these young
ladies truly earned this tremendous honor. Mackenzie and Carson were fantastic.
Erin and Trinity attacked and had really, really good seasons.
“Kaitlyn and Avery were so good for us defensively all season. The defensive players do not always have the eye-popping statistics, only allowing 20 goals all season and posting 13 shutouts speaks volumes what our defensive group has accomplished. These honors are absolutely so deserving for these young ladies. They deserve so much in what they have accomplished as a team in our journey this year.”
It is a journey that Conley knows
couldn’t have happened without the help from people throughout the community.
“These awards are fantastic, but all this comes back to the community raising all that money to start this program five years ago,” he said. “When I took the job here at Louisburg High, Mr. (Darin) Gagnebin hired me as the head coach to start the program. He told me of the challenges we will have and to always be prepared to handle anything. If the community didn’t raise all that money, none of this is possible. Over the past four years, I told the girls we are always playing for them. Everything we do is to represent our community. We do not take anything for granted. So I feel I need to do everything in my power to honor those people that raised the money, players that played in our program, and for the community members that pack the stands each and every night.
“Regardless where we go, we ALWAYS have the most fans. All those
people who go out of their way to support this team is what motivates us. As a
program, we talk about honoring those who wore the crest and those who support
the crest. Our play is how we can honor them. I could not be prouder of this
group of kids and their motivation to live up to our standard. This program
statistically has been one of the top programs over the past four years
regardless what classification you look at, but you have to keep in mind that
this is only the fourth year of our programs history. What these young ladies
have accomplished is been remarkable. I could not be more proud to be their