The crest on the uniform proudly displays the fact that the players are from a Catholic school. At the top of the crest are a cross and the initials “SV” representing St. Vincent, the saintly namesake of St. Vincent High School in Perryville. Wheat strands represent the Eucharist.
But the players on the Class 1 state championship high school girls soccer team went beyond that — they wore a Miraculous Medal pin attached to their uniform shorts.
The team completed a 20-6-1 season May 31 to win their second successive state championship, a first for the school. St. Vincent defeated Principia 2-0 in Kansas City with goals from Megan Hennemann and Genevieve Lipe.
A hard-work ethic helped the Warriors accomplish their goal.
“Last year we had a lot of talent and, based on the talent of our opponents, we felt it (a championship) was going to happen as long as we stayed healthy. This year we knew we were going to have to work really hard,” said St. Vincent coach Caitlin Pistorio, who described her players as positive and humble athletes and good students as well. “They’re not here to get awards or be praised. They just love the sport and are friends.”
The five seniors on the squad, all starters, gathered with their coach at a coffee shop in Perryville in the early morning hours of June 7 to pick out championship rings as a remembrance of their accomplishment. They also reminisced about the season and their time together. All five played on the same team many years with the Southeast Missouri Soccer Club.
“All five of us grew up playing together, so it really meant something for us,” midfielder Abby Buchheit said.
Although a back-to-back championship was the goal from the beginning of the season, and they knew it wouldn’t be easy. “The target was on our back,” forward Corin Carroll said. “Everyone wants to beat the returning state champion.”
Buchheit said the competition was intense, with opponents ready to knock her team off, and the Indians had to fill in some holes. The Indians lost four players, including three starters, from last year’s team. Early on, they also lost a starting forward, Kalli Seabaugh, to injury.
It takes some adjustment anytime new players, particularly younger ones, are added to a team, defender Jenna Winkler said. “We have to adapt to each other. Our styles are different.”
Carroll agreed, adding that the seniors needed to work with the new players, help each other become more efficient and come together as a team.
A 2-0 loss to Perryville High School at the end of April was a low point. “It was our breaking point, but we built up and got back in it. We came together after the game,” goalie Courtney Brewer said.
A high point was a win against Notre Dame of Cape Girardeau, Mo., the then-reigning Class 2 state champs.
Bus rides were a fun time, traveling an average of about 45 minutes to an hour away and going as far as Poplar Bluff, more than 90 miles away. They also enjoyed hanging out together at the hotel in Kansas City.
“There’s a lot that goes into a team,” Brewer said. “It takes a certain person to be on a team. Your team becomes your family.”
Defender Kaiti Schnurbusch thanked their coaches, parents, other family members, fellow students and community.
The players expressed their faith, she said, by praying every time they get on the bus and before games and practices. The team attended a Mass together before heading to the state tournament. And they wore the Miraculous Medal pins, appropriate for representatives of the Catholic community, because Perryville is home to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and the Association of the Miraculous Medal.
>> The playoffs
Girls teams from Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis were well represented in the state soccer playoffs.
Vincent won 5-0 against Maplewood-Richmond Heights, 5-1 vs. Lone Jack
and 2-0 over Principia to win the Missouri State High School Activities
Association Class 1 girls soccer title. Trinity Catholic lost 1-0 to
Principia in quarterfinals of the Class 1 competition.
In Class 3,
Incarnate Word Academy came up just short, losing in the championship
game to Rockwood Summit 1-0. Incarnate Word defeated Union 1-0, St.
Dominic 2-1 and Villa Duchesne 1-0 to reach the finals. St. Dominic
defeated Ft. Zumwalt South 4-1 in sectionals.
In Class 4, St. Joseph’s Academy lost 2-1 in penalty kicks to Eureka in sectionals.
Class 2, Notre Dame High School lost 4-3 in overtime to Notre Dame of
Cape Girardeau in sectionals. St. Francis Borgia lost 2-0 to Christian
High School in sectionals. Rosati-Kain defeated fellow archdiocesan
school Bishop DuBourg 4-0 in sectionals before losing 2-0 to Notre Dame
of Cape Girardeau.