by Michael Smith
Grain Valley sophomore defender Sevreign Aumua had a surprised look on her face when it was announced.
After the Eagles’ Suburban White Conference game with Truman Tuesday on the road, head coach Brett Lewis said that Aumua would get the game ball.
While Grain Valley dominated possession, which limited Truman’s opportunities to score, Aumua helped stop the Patriots anytime they got to the attacking third. That helped Grain Valley get its seventh shutout of the season in a 6-0 victory.
“I feel like our whole back line has been playing well,” Lewis said. “We have had a lot of shutouts and Sevi has been a big part of that. She uses her body so well and wins the ball back. I thought she did a great job sniffing out counterattacks.”
Lewis added that Aumua is a physical player, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as she dominates in the physical sport of wrestling. Last February, she won her first state championship.
“She embraces contact. That’s her favorite part of the game,” Lewis said.
Thanks to the efforts of Aumua and the back line, Truman managed just one shot on goal.
Meanwhile, the Eagles had to deal with the Patriots committing eight to 10 players to the defensive third off the field. Grain Valley still ended up scoring two goals in the first half and four in the second half.
“We had to adjust because they sank in and it made it hard to score,” Grain Valley sophomore Annabelle Totta said. “We had to have patience and we played really well.”
In the ninth minute a give and go between sophomores Emma Thiessen and Totta, with the latter scoring on a run deep in the penalty box for a 1-0 lead.
“The chemistry just comes naturally because we have had a strong friendship over the years,” Totta said.
Later in the period, Thiessen was credited with a goal after her corner kick was accidentally knocked into the goal by Truman goalkeeper Bailee Gfeller.
Grain Valley took the 2-0 advantage into halftime and Grain Valley picked up right where it left off with sophomore midfielder Meghan Knust scoring from 20-yard out after a backward pass from Totta.
“Every time we put Knust up at the nine, she ends up producing and scoring,” Lewis said.
“Emma and Annabelle score a lot of goals but I think Knust is probably among our top scorers, as well. We like to find opportunities to give her more opportunities to score.”
Totta put in a rebound after he initial header was stopped by Gfeller; Thiessen found Knust on a through ball. Knust who was midway inside the penalty box and she slid a shot by Gfeller for a goal; and another give-and-go resulted in a pass from Totta to a streaking Thiessen, who put in a close-range shot to cap the scoring in the second half.