1989 Soccer State Champions

When the 1989 soccer season started, Incarnate Word Academy was a well established volleyball power, but the school had never won a state title in another sport. The first state tournament for girls’ soccer was held in 1985, and after losing in the early rounds the first three years, the Red Knights fell to Nerinx Hall in the semifinals of the 1988 tournament in a penalty kick shoot-out. After coming so close to achieving the goal of a state title the season before, the 1989 squad began the season determined to take the next step toward a championship title. The 24-2-5 Red Knights were league champions and won the CYC Tournament title. The team was led by head coach Jim Marco and assistant coaches Karen Lombardo and Pat Baker. They were a talented and hard working group that respected each other and enjoyed playing together. On the field, the foundation of the 1989 soccer team was a stout defense that set a national record of 23 shutouts in one season. As fate would have it, IWA faced another shoot-out against Duchesne in the semifinal match of the state tournament at the Soccer Park. This time, the battle-tested Red Knights drew on their experience from the prior year to win the shoot-out and advance to the finals. In the championship game, IWA defeated Parkway Central in a thrilling 2-1 contest. The newspaper articles at the time referred to the newly crowned champion Red Knights as an "emerging soccer power." Now, after twenty years, seven more state titles and a program that is perennially ranked among the best in the nation, the 1989 IWA soccer team is proud to have established the foundation for the most successful soccer program in the State of Missouri.