by Michael Smith
It wasn’t an ideal start for the Grain Valley girls soccer team.
The Eagles controlled possession for much of the first half but didn’t have much to show for it in their Suburban White Conference matchup with Fort Osage. They launched 10 shots in the first 40 minutes and only scored one goal.
Some shots went just wide or over the goal. Four shots were stopped by Fort Osage goalkeeper Kylee Gorbet. Grain Valley took a slim 1-0 lead into halftime then turned on the afterburners in the second half, scoring three goals in a 4-0 victory Monday at Moody Murry Memorial Field.
The Eagles (4-2-1) only first-goal came on a penalty kick from sophomore forward Emma Thiessen, one in which she calmly struck the ball and snuck it past Gorbet in the 17th minute. Her team struggled to finish a lot of their chances early, but the second half was a different story despite the Indians creating opportunities of their own.
“Sometimes it takes us a bit to get going,” Thiessen said. “But once we get going a lot of times there’s no one that’s going to be able to stop us.”
Grain Valley sophomore forward Annabelle Totta dribbled the ball about 30 yards along the left sideline, racing past Fort Osage defenders. She sent a perfect cross to sophomore midfielder Meghan Knust, who tucked it inside the right post to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead early in the second half.
A little later on, Totta dribbled the ball along the right sideline once again, and this time, her cross found Thiessen, who nudged a close-range shot inside the right post for a 3-0 lead. Thiessen then completed her hat trick moments later when she launched a left-footed shot near the top of the penalty box and it went inside the left post.
“In the second half, we were able to get into the attacking third and were able to finish our chances and opportunities,” Thiessen said. “Annabelle drove by the line and kept crossing them in and that was helpful.”
That score continued a scoring tear for Thiessen, who has scored seven goals in her last two games.
“She creates a lot for us and she is a great leader,” Grain Valley coach Brett Lewis said of Thiessen. “She’s always going to be a threat to score no matter who she is playing.”
, Fort Osage was able to push the ball into the attacking third on a handful of occasions in the second half, but were only able to put one shot on goal, which was saved by goalkeeper Camihle Williams.
Any time the Indians managed to push the ball near the Grain Valley penalty box, a player on the Eagles’ back line would close the gap and clear the ball or make a sliding tackle to prevent Fort Osage from getting a shot off.
“Our back line has been playing great all season,” Lewis said. “They have a lot of speed and they have been the rock of our team really. We pride ourselves on not allowing a lot of goals.”
Grain Valley goalkeeper Camihle Williams made one save on Fort Osage's only shot on goal in 4-0 victory Monday at Moody Murry Memorial Field. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley sophomore midfielder Kylee Bragaw takes a practice shot before the game against Fort Osage. Photo credit: Michael Smith
Grain Valley sophomore midfielder Annabelle Totta had two assists in Grain Valley's 4-0 win over Fort Osage. Photo credit: Michael Smith