ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The Rockwood Summit Boys Soccer team is in the middle of its deepest playoff run in program history. Friday the Falcons play in its first ever Missouri State Championship semi-final match.
“It’s nerve wracking first of all,” says head coach Chris Kappler.
He has wanted the matchup with Fort Zumwalt South to come as soon as possible, but knows how precious the limited preparation time is.
“These high school kids don’t play in front of 2,000 plus fans on a game-by-game basis,” Kappler says. “So that’s something we can’t prepare for.”
And the Falcons’ seniors like Colin Hilpert and Peter Baker have been waiting three years to play November soccer.
“It’s definitely nice to finally be able to finally make this run our senior years,” Hilpert says. “Not being able to make it the past three years.”
The Falcons haven’t advanced out of its district tournament since 2012, and have lost the past two season to the eventual state champions Webster Groves High School.
“That’s hard for these kids when they leave everything out on the table and it’s not good enough,” Kappler says. “But they came in with knowing they had lost a lot of players from last year. And they said it’s our turn this year.”
Eight players graduated from last year’s team, but the 2016 Falcons have looked even better, ranked as the No. 3 large school in St. Louis area, with a 26-2-1 record.
“You kind of use it as internal motivation but it’s something I try not to focus on as much,” Hilpert says. “And more so after the fact you can look back on it and really reflect and think ‘Wow that was quite the run we made, making our mark on the school like this.’”
The 6 p.m. match at World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton will be the second meeting between Zumwalt South and Summit. In August, the Falcons got the better of the Bulldogs 4-1. But that game, Baker says, doesn’t matter now.
“It’s a completely new game,” Baker says. “That was in the middle of the season, they didn’t have a player so it’s just a whole new game. And a big atmosphere around this game so it’s going to be a good game.”
Kappler says he’s fortunate to be able to understand what this game will be like. Since he’s been in the State Final the last two seasons with the Summit girls team.
“Most of Fenton will be at Soccer Park on Friday supporting these boys and that’s the kind of community we are and I love being a part of it,” Kappler says. “Which makes it a little be extra special, we want to bring something home to them.”
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