Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Iwa Aims to Put Kc Foe Behind the Eight Ball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Iwa Aims to Put Kc Foe Behind the Eight Ball

Article excerpt

The Red Knights of Incarnate Word Academy have become a fixture at the state soccer championships.

When IWA (27-2-1) takes the field against Kansas City St. Teresa's Academy (13-5-4) in the semifinals at 8 tonight at the Billiken Sports Center, it will mark the Red Knights' eighth consecutive Final Four appearance.

Incarnate Word, the two-time defending state champion, also won the title in 1989. The Red Knights were second in 1991 and 1992 and placed third in 1988 and 1990.

"We don't talk about it much, but when you step back and look at what the girls have accomplished, it's pretty amazing," said Andy Lodes, who's in his third season as Incarnate Word coach. "We obviously get some very good athletes here. These girls are dedicated and they're tremendously focused. They want to be the best and they're willing to work hard to reach their goals."

Lodes said the excitement of reaching state always seems to get his players going.

"Every trip is different and special," he said. "And every trip is an adventure. There's pressure, sure, but I think it's pressure that comes from the girls themselves. Most of these girls have been here before and they know what's expected of them. And they expect to do well.

"Honestly, I probably feel more comfortable with this team than I've felt about our previous two. That's not to say we're going to win the title; it's just that I have a real good feeling about this group. We've been playing well and if that keeps up, I like our chances."

The Red Knights, ranked No. 1 in the latest area coaches poll, will carry a 27-game unbeaten streak into the semifinals. After a 1-2 start that included one-goal losses to Hazelwood Central and Francis Howell North, IWA has gone 26-0-1.

"We play a good schedule, and I really think the teams we play tend to play a little better against us," Lodes said. …

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