The STA varsity soccer team is currently ranked 4th nationally by ESPN. The team is 6-0 after winning the MOKAN tournament earlier this season. The team is also ranked first in the state of Missouri.
Head coach Jeremy McElduff says he proud of the team, but believes the rankings are anticipatory.
“I think [the rankings] are a bit premature,” McElduff said. “We don’t want to be playing our best soccer right now. We need to stay focused everyday at practice, keep playing well and take care of some details.”
Varsity player Morgan Trees believes that the rankings may not be completely accurate.
“I’m not sure how accurate the rankings are because we only play teams from Kansas and Missouri,” Trees said. “ I don’t understand how we’re ranked higher than any teams from other states since we haven’t played any of the same teams.”
However, McElduff does believe that the current rankings have raised awareness for the soccer program and St. Teresa’s in general.
“It has been several years since we’ve received recognition at the national level,” McElduff said. “It gets our name out there and brings our players to the forefront. In addition, it is another avenue to draw more students to St. Teresa’s and the more notoriety we receive the more young girls will want to come here and play.”
Another benefit of national recognition is college opportunities for the players.
“More college coaches have contacted me already this season regarding our player than all of last season combined,” McElduff said.
Senior and caption Ava Jurden thinks that college opportunities motivate the team.
“Our team chemistry is great,” Jurden said. “Everyone is really motivated to do well because [team members] are looking to play in college or have some kind of future in the sport. A lot of our younger players are really stepping up.”
Trees was a member of last year’s varsity team and believes the team has strong young players.
“Last year our seniors really carried the team,” Trees said. “Even though were better this year, its weird having more shared leadership.”
McElduff believes this young team is motivated to reach their goals
“Every year is special,” McElduff said. “However, this group of girls has a set of goals they want to achieve and they don’t intend to let anything stand in the way. We have had a few lean years and lost some confidence. Last year, the confidence returned and these girls know they can reach their goals.”
The team plays next at the Heart of America tournament hosted by the Lee’s Summit School District this weekend.
According to McElduff, rankings or not, he is proud of his team.
“We are honored and proud of the girls,” McElduff said. “We certainly have the talent and drive to be one of the top ranked teams in the country.”