Back in 2009, current Duchesne freshman midfielder Courtney Reimer watched the state soccer tournament as her sister, Alli, was the leading scorer for the eventual state champion Pioneers.
Four years later, Courtney Reimer and her sister, Jordan (a junior forward), will look to carry on the program and family banner as they help lead the Pioneers into the Class 1 state semifinals against Kansas City O'Hara (18-3) at 3 p.m. Friday at Blue Springs South.
The winner of that game will move into the state championship game Saturday at noon.
“It was my sister's year when they won state,” Courtney Reimer said. “That makes it big for us to go back and keep the tradition going. It's going to be tough not having that home (field) advantage playing so far away, but soccer is soccer. We'll be ready.”
Duchesne (13-9) currently is experiencing an eight-game win streak and has won 10 of 11, and the only blemish to the Pioneers' win column since April 23 was a loss to Class 2 state semifinalist and national No. 1 team St. Dominic.
Acting Pioneers coach Patrick Turner said that, much like the team's current postseason run, which most recently featured a 6-1 win over Lutheran St. Charles in the Class 1 quarterfinal on Saturday, success has come in playing from the advantage.
“When we go to Kansas City, we know we're going to have some tougher opponents,” Turner said. “So getting up early will help the girls with their confidence. Another thing is that it just helps us control the ballgame.”
Since opening the season at 4-2, O'Hara has won 14 of 15 games and hasn't allowed a goal since April 26 in a 3-1 win over St. Pius X of Kansas City prior to the team's 8-1 win over Summit Christian in the district championship.
Most recently, the Celts registered a 4-2 win over Maryville in the sectional round.
Turner said that the Pioneers' main focus will lie in their diversified offensive attack and the pressure he feels the squad has and will continue to put on the opposition.
“At the beginning of the year, we were really having trouble scoring goals,” Turner said of a stretch of some six straight games where the Pioneers lost without the benefit of a goal. “Once the (opposition) sees Allie (Alison Cowell), or Courtney (Reimer) gets some goals and has to start doubling up on them, it's huge. It opens things up for others.”
So far, Cowell (10 goals, 2 assists) has led the scoring attack. Other key players have been Ryan Kielty (7, 7), Courtney Reimer (7, 6) and Brigitte Reilly (6, 7).
In goal, Alli Wilcox (10-6, 0.99 goals-against average) has carried the load for the Pioneers.
O'Hara, which as given up 17 goals in 21 games, features a strong defensive lineup as four of the Celts' seven seniors (Maddie Champion, Lindsay Beachner, Madison Clark and Lucia Crosetti) shore up the back line in front of junior goalkeeper Ciru Franklin.
No matter what happens this season, the Duchesne players said that continuing a tradition, which also includes a fourth-place finish in 1989 and 2008, is something they will always remember.
But they sure would like to add another state championship trophy to the school's trophy case.
“We definitely want to prove that Duchesne soccer means a lot,” Cowell said. “That, and the fact that we're the best around. Soccer is soccer, no matter where you are. It's just more important to keep playing your game if you want to keep winning.”