KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Sometimes, believing in oneself makes all the difference.
Piper High School isn’t a traditional soccer superpower, but the girls from Wyandotte County are overcoming the odds to excel. The Lady Pirates (11-1) defeated De Soto on Tuesday to win their first-ever United Kansas Conference regular season championship.
Piper is now ranked as the number one team in Kansas Class 5A East, riding an 11-game win streak after losing their season opener.
The Lady Pirates are outscoring their opponents 57-7 on the season, posting five shutout wins along the way. First-year head coach Ryan Von Bevern noticed this team had always scored enough goals to win, but they posted only nine victories last season.
Von Bevern said his priority was to convince this team to believe in itself. Fittingly, the coach regularly wears a pair of Ted Lasso socks he received as a recent birthday gift, depicting the television character known for installing positive attributes in his players.
“They can win it all if they want to. There are obviously a few teams that have been big powerhouses. We don’t need to be better than them. We just need to beat them. This team can beat anybody,” Von Bevern said.
Von Bevern said he made a few tweaks to his team’s defense, and his players responded by going after the ball harder. Lady Pirate players visibly believe in themselves as the victories add up. They’re chasing their first-ever KSHSAA Girls Soccer Championship.
“We weren’t even remotely close to this in previous seasons. We have definitely worked hard to get to this point,” Ella Buff, Piper Junior Center Forward, said.
“We work very well together. We connect, and we’ve had that connection in the past, but we just lacked confidence,” Madi Welker, Piper Senior Centerback, said.
That 11-game winning streak goes on the line this Tuesday when Piper travels to Topeka Hayden Catholic.