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St. Thomas Aquinas matches expectations, rises in soccer rankings

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(Courtesy of @WattsRian on Twitter)

St. Thomas Aquinas is accustomed to success. The Overland Park, Kansas powerhouse is the reigning 5A state champion, and its success goes back even farther than that.

The Saints have won 17 national titles, including seven in a row from 2010-17. They have been a mainstay near the top of national polls, even nabbing the No. 2 spot in one ranking in 2005.

This year’s team is living up to that tradition, having finished the regular season with a 12-0-2 record, including a win over last year’s 6A state champs.

Defender Assa Kante is a Kansas commit and one of five seniors who will continue their soccer careers in college. She is joined by Abby Hansen (Missouri State), Shandon Carr (Washburn University), Maria Jensen (MidAmerica Nazarene University) and Mara Loughman (Benedictine College). Sophomore Sydney Watts has also committed to play for Vanderbilt.

With that talent and experience, the Saints hope to add another state championship trophy to their cabinet this spring after moving up one spot in the latest JWS high school soccer rankings.

(Note that these rankings do not include teams from Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.)

1. Valor Christian (Colo.), 14-0

The Eagles capped a perfect regular season with a win over previously unbeaten Pine Creek and then opened the postseason Tuesday with a commanding 8-0 win.

2. South County (Va.), 12-0-1

In a matchup of undefeated teams, South County beat Fairfax on Friday and followed it up with a 4-0 win Tuesday.

3. Gretna (Neb.), 19-0

The Dragons are just two wins away from a state championship and an unbeaten season.

4. Colonial Forge (Va.), 13-0

The Eagles are one win away from an undefeated regular season.

5. Valley (Iowa), 14-0

Anna Van Wyngarden has been involved in nearly half of Valley’s 50 goals this season with 12 goals and another 12 assists.

6. St. Thomas Aquinas (Kan.), 12-0-2

The Saints ended the regular season undefeated thanks to a 1-1 tie Friday, and now turn their attention toward defending their Class 5A state championship.

7. Liberty North (Mo.), 17-0

Florida commit Megan Hinnenkamp had a hat trick, and the Eagles ended the regular season undefeated with a 4-0 win over Lee’s Summit West. It was the Eagles’ second win this season over Lee’s Summit West, which has won or tied its 17 other games.

8. Colgan (Va.), 13-1-1

The Sharks have allowed just two goals since a 3-1 defeat to Colonial Forge on March 23.

9. Legacy (Colo.), 15-1

The Lightning opened the postseason with an emphatic 10-0 win as junior Kendall Rippley (Air Force commit) scored five goals and added an assist, and senior Juliauna Hayward (Colorado commit) collected five assists and a goal.

10. Yorktown (Va.) 13-1-1

The Patriots followed a scoreless draw Monday with a 6-2 win on Senior Night two days later.

11. Wando (S.C.), 17-1

After a 4-2 win over Chapin in the Lower State Finals, the Warriors are just one win away from back-to-back Class AAAAA state championships.

12. Fort Zumwalt South (Mo.), 20-1

The Bulldogs enter the playoffs on a nine-game winning streak and as the defending 3A state champions.

13. Bentonville (Ark.) 16-1-2

The Tigers’ undefeated season came to a crashing halt with a 3-0 loss to Bentonville West. Bentonville now begins state tournament play this Friday.

14. Triad (Ill.), 18-1

The Knights have allowed just five goals all season and posted 14 shutouts.

15. O’Fallon (Ill.), 17-1

The Panthers are putting that mid-season loss to Triad behind them, and the reigning Class 3A state champions appear primed for another playoff run.

16. Hudsonville (Mich.), 10-0-1

Hudsonville has given up just three goals this season, and just one in the last nine games.

17. Grandview (Colo.), 13-1-2

The Wolves ended the regular season with a 2-0 win over fellow 5A power Columbine to earn the fourth seed in the state playoffs and opened the postseason with another 2-0 victory.

18. Pine Creek (Colo.), 15-1

The Eagles nearly knocked off No. 1 Valor Christian but fell 4-3 in overtime. They bounced back from that defeat with a 4-0 win in the first round of the state playoffs.

19. James Island (S.C.), 19-1-2

A 5-3 win over Hilton Head gave the Trojans their second Lower State championship in as many years. Now, they look to repeat as Class AAAA state champions.

20. Lyons Township (Ill.), 17-1

Last year’s Class 3A state runners-up enter the postseason on a four-game winning streak, having outscored opponents 57-6 this season.

21. Oregon (Wis.), 13-0-1

The Panthers had given up four goals in 13 games before surrendering two Wednesday in a 2-2 draw.

22. Broomfield (Colo.), 13-2

After a disappointing end to the regular season, Broomfield opened the postseason with a victory.

23. Metea Valley (Ill.), 15-2-1

The Mustangs knocked off previously ranked Naperville Central 4-1 to win their first DuPage Valley Conference title.

24. Muskego (Wis.), 9-0-3

The Warriors have given up just four goals all season, but two of those goals have resulted in 1-1 ties. The other was a scoreless draw.

25. Nerinx Hall (Mo.), 16-2-1

The Markers won five of their first eight games. Since then, last year’s Class 4 state finalists have reeled off 11 consecutive victories.

Phillip Suitts is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. He has worked at a variety of outlets, including The Palm Beach Post and Southeast Missourian, and done a little bit of everything from reporting to editing to running social media accounts. He was born in Atlanta but currently lives in wintry Philadelphia. Follow Phillip on Twitter @PhillipSuitts.