West Wins it All

Wildcats capture 5th state championship in school history


Nathan Thomas

Senior Chaise Pfanstiel looks to drive past Marian senior Grace Crockett. She lead the Wildcats in their 4-2 win with two first half goals. “It was great, I was glad we got to finish it out this way,” Pfanstiel said. “I was glad that all of us seniors could finish it out like this.”

Nathan Thomas, Striv Executive Producer

One cloudy, windy and shivery night in mid-April. A night that will be forgotten by most, but a night that may live in infamous history to the Millard West girl’s varsity soccer team.

April 18th was the date, the annual Q Street Classic vs Millard South. A twisty and wind carried goal in the 20th minute from the Patriots would change the whole season.

The top ranked Wildcats would end up losing that game by a 1-0 scoreline, a game that would end their unbeaten start to the season at 11 games.

“The loss was the best thing that happened to us,” coach Jacque Tevis-Butler said. “The team realized that they could lose. After the Metro Tournament we did not play all that great for a couple games, and that loss really helped us.”

Now, they are the last team standing in Class A. A term that can now be used to describe the Wildcats: State Champions.

On Tuesday May 14th, they clinched the fifth State Championship in school history with a 4-2 win over Omaha Marian.

This is their first title since 2015, and extend their record to a perfect 5-0 in title games.

“It is amazing, like the best feeling ever,” junior Kathrine Stoneburner said. “To finally do that after two years of losing in the semifinals for me and three for the seniors it is just unreal.”

Senior Chaise Pfanstiel started the scoring 15 minutes into the match, when she received a layoff pass from junior Sierra Schmidt to take 1-0 lead.

The second seeded Marian would make sure they would only trail three minutes before equalizing. Senior Grace Thede hit a looping volley into the top left corner off a corner to pull the Crusaders level.

This was the moment that changed all the momentum in favor of Millard West.

They would take the lead back when a shot deflected by junior Morgan Rhodes deflected a shot off her head, while laying on the ground, towards the net. The ball was sent towards the upper 90 of the goal, where multiple Marian defenders would be unable to clear it.

Just before the stroke of halftime the pounding Millard pressure would not let up. They would grab one more goal from a connection of Schmidt to Pfanstiel. A simple tap in for the latter for her second goal of the match and 21st of the season, and a hard hit with the metal post.

They would hold a 3-1 lead at the break.

Even with a 3-1 lead, top ranked Millard West would keep on knocking on the door.

They would win a penalty that Stoneburner sent into the bottom left corner of the goal to take a three goal with 20 minutes left.

The crowd of 3,512 at Morrison Stadium could start to sense who would be walking out with the hardware that night, as the warm spring sun began to set behind the Omaha landscape.

A consolation goal came with just a few minutes from Mairan senior Mallory Mumby, as they looked to pull of a near impossible miracle, a now 4-2 deficit in the waning moments.

After the kick off after the sixth goal of a classic in Class A, the countdowns began.

The chants from the student section, with hugs and embraces of satisfaction and sorrow between coaches and players ensued over the course of the last few minutes before the final whistle was blown.

“Ever since the moment we stepped on the bus, you could honestly just feel the energy,” Pfanstiel said. “We weren’t as loud and talkative. But I think we all had a really good feeling about this game. We knew it from the moment that we stepped on the field. We looked at each other and were like ‘We’re in the state championship. We’re meant to be here. And we’re going to finish it out.’ ”

The Millard West Wildcats would finish out the season with a 18 wins, a tie for the school record of wins and a season, along with another State Championship.