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Archive for Sunday, May 2, 1999

SAINTS STUFF FREE STATE

May 2, 1999

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It had been a week of emotion and fatigue for both the Free State and Overland Park Aquinas soccer teams.

Nevertheless, Aquinas dominated Free State, 6-0, on Saturday at the Firebirds' field.

At least Free State didn't have to travel, coach Phil Lee said.

"We really enjoyed being able to play at home with some nice weather," he said.

Aquinas, on the other hand, was just happy to be playing.

On May 9, 1998, as the Saints were returning home from a tournament in St. Louis, their bus was involved in an accident that left several players seriously injured.

At the time of the accident, Aquinas had just beaten Free State, 9-0, and was ranked No. 5 in the nation, but the Saints dropped two of their last three games and finished with a 14-3 record.

So the trip to Lawrence this year was very pleasing for Aquinas coach Craig Ewing, who has seen his squad overcome that highway mishap.

"We have five players on this year's team that were hurt in the accident," Ewing said. "They're all back out and playing and I'm really proud of that."

Senior wing Mo Muehlebach, for example, was told she would never play soccer again.

"Thirty minutes after the accident, we didn't know whether or not Mo was going to live, so we are more than grateful that she is OK and back with us." Ewing said.

Muehlebach was one of six players to score for the Saints (10-1-1) on Saturday.

Lee and the Firebirds knew what they were up against Saturday.

"I think we made them earn their goals today," Lee said. "They're a strong team and we knew what to expect after last year's game."

Free State goalie Marie Keplinger gave the six goals, but also had 19 saves.

Although the Firebirds are 0-9-1, many of the players felt the team was finally coming together.

"We really have begun to bond a little more," sophomore Kristin Bock said. "We had some issues before to deal with, but I really think we played more like a team today."

After playing four games in six days, the Firebirds will face another four opponents next week beginning with Monday's game against Leavenworth at home.

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