Near the end of the season, every victory for the Neosho Wildcats seemed to be historic.
In the Class 3, District 12 finals at Carl Junction, Neosho edged Webb City 3-2 and the Wildcats earned their first back-to-back district titles in program history.
In the Class 3 sectionals, Neosho defeated Parkview 2-1 to earn their first sectional victory and state quarterfinal appearance.
Neosho lost 6-2 to Glendale in the state quarters and finished 13-11-1 overall.
"It was an incredible year," Neosho head coach James Carter said. "This team did so much for Neosho soccer. I told them it's hard for me to put into words and I think I'm usually pretty good at putting things into words. It was incredible, the sectional win and back-to-back district champs. They're an amazing team and I think most often these things come one step at a time. We took a big step this year."
The Wildcats' senior leadership included Brayden Johnson, Angel Alvarado, and Edly Lihpai, all players who earned some form of postseason recognition.
"When you talk about that senior class," Carter said, "I just think of their leadership. Those are just three rock solid young men who in terms of their values and their leadership, we're going to miss that a lot. They're great players and that's important, but in terms of leaders I've had, they're three of the best."
Junior forward Yahir Ruiz earned all-state, all-conference, all-region, and all-district honors and he put in the winning goal against Webb City in the district final.
"He's an incredible athlete," Carter said. "He's really fast and he's explosive. When he gets his opportunities, his breakaways, he puts them away. Obviously, it's a team effort and he was on the right end of two tonight. I give him a hard time because honestly, he's had a lot of breakaways this year and he hasn't always finished them. I told him before the game, 'If you get a breakaway tonight, just put it away.' He just smiled. He did. He's a great athlete. Of course, and he'll tell you this, he's got 10 guys behind him to support him. They all did a good job tonight."