TMP, Wichita North play to 0-0 draw

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HAYS, Kan. You know just how far a program has come when it's the latter.

Thomas More Prep-Marian High, assured of a No. 2 seed in next week's Class 4-3-2-1A South Central regional play, closed out the regular season Thursday with a scoreless double overtime draw with Class 6A Wichita North in action at the Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex.

A year ago, TMP tied the same Redskin team 2-2 in double OT to move up to third in the regional seedings and went on to qualify for the state playoffs for the first time in program history.

TMP players, coaches and fans were ecstatic with that tie. Thursday, not so much.

Just three years removed from a one-win season, these Monarchs want – and expect – more.

"We dominated that whole thing and could not buy a goal for nothing," TMP coach Darryl Wellbrock said.

That just about summed up the game, and 100 minutes of physical play, in one sentence.

The Monarchs almost – and that was a big five-letter word Thursday – scored numerous times as they kept North senior goalkeeper Aliyah Bernard busy the entire game, and two extra periods as well.

TMP had three hard shots hit the top crossbar. A penalty kick in the just after halftime went wide left. Several Monarch shots were right down the middle that Bernard grabbed with ease. Others went over the goal. And what looked like a sure goal – a perfectly placed high kick from outside the box by TMP junior Rachael Hamel in the first overtime – went over Bernard's head, took a Redskin bounce and wound up in Bernard's hands just outside the goal line.

"I'm still beating myself up, trying to figure out what else we could have done to score," Wellbrock said several hours after the game in which the ball was on TMP's offensive half of the field virtually the entire contest.

Wellbrock and his coaching staff were working on the run Thursday, trying to find creative ways to score as the Redskins at times packed 10 players in the box, giving little attention to their offensive game.

"We tried coming in the back. We tried coming in the side. We just couldn't get it in," Wellbrock said.

Despite all his second-guessing, Wellbrock knows he has to now move on and prepare for whoever the Monarchs might play in next Thursday's regional finals, and savor his team's record-breaking season.

TMP finished the regular season with a school-record 10 victories. It's the first time ever a Monarch girls' soccer team (now 10-3-1) posted double digits in the win column.

That, coupled with an automatic win they will get with next week's first-round regional bye, will move the Monarchs into the regional championship game at Bickle/Schmidt with an 11-3-1 mark.

"Yeah, the roles are reversed this year," Wellbrock said while talking about his team's excitement about two ties last year. "I guess they don't want ties anymore. They want wins."