by John Unrein
Smiles adorned the faces of the Lady Eagles post-game team huddle following their 14-0 victory over the visiting Ruskin Golden Eagles on May 17th. An object was being passed around the team in concealment prior to the secret getting out. The item was a 100th goal inscribed game ball commemorating Raena Childers scoring landmark during her career at Grain Valley. A plateau the senior reached by scoring five goals during the opening round of the Class 3 District 14 tournament match.
“Our goal has been to remain consistent down the stretch. That has made practice tough recently. Our motivation for that is as we advance through the postseason, competition will become increasingly tougher,” Childers said.
“I made scoring a hundred goals something that I wanted to accomplish this season. It is pretty amazing. I did not realize until after the game that tonight was when I reached that achievement.”
Childers concluded, “What I want most is the next win. We have a high ceiling as a team and must take things as we progress through districts and sectionals one game at a time.”
Grain Valley was consistent in their approach on offense throughout the game. The Lady Eagles maneuvered the soccer ball through their middle three while looking to find their forwards for wide shots on goal. Success of the strategy implemented by Lady Eagles head soccer coach Tyler Nichol may be found in the 27-2 shots on goal advantage for Grain Valley against their opponent.
“Our speed of play tonight was good. We were decisive on when to dribble or take players on. Scoring opportunities were created by the blend of passing and shot accuracy we presented,” Nichol said.
“Our focus now turns to our next game. At this point in the season, regardless of who your opponent is, you must prepare like it is a state championship game. You are facing single game elimination. The girls on the team have named it ‘May Madness’ appropriately.”
Nichol continued, “Raena (Childers) is a phenomenal player. Obviously, someone who is going on to play at Power Five Division One school speaks to her talent level. The character of Raena the person and the way she carries herself as a leader is even more important.”
Joining the strong supporting cast for the Lady Eagles were forward Annabelle Totta and goalkeeper Camihle Williams who would score two goals and provide the shutout in net, respectively. Both Totta and Williams represent part of the youth of Grain Valley’s varsity roster that are making contributions as underclassmen. At the point of twenty one games into the season it is not hard to believe that both have matured past their age on the soccer field.
“We moved the ball tonight through keeping our heads up and finding players that were open. None of us were selfish. It is fun to continue to win and we will push to state hopefully,” Totta said.
Williams added, “We were strategic tonight about keeping things simple. That allowed us to score. I am prouder of my team than the shutout in goal tonight. They made this possible.”
The Lady Eagles soccer team moves their record to 18-2-1 on the season as they advance in the playoffs.
The Grain Valley Lady Eagles soccer team huddles to celebrate their Class 3 District 14 tournament win and Raena Childers 100th career goal.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
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