by John Unrein
In a rite of passage, Valorie Holcomb removed her Class of 2021 picture banner from the stadium fence at Moody Murray field. Holcomb joined Grain Valley seniors Sophie Broockerd, Annalyn Earley, Raena Childers, Kierstin Schwirtz, and Kelsey Duett during their final regular season home game in celebrating an 8-0 win against the visiting Raytown Blue Jays on May 11th. Holcomb was one of seven different Lady Eagles to put the ball in net during a convincing Suburban Conference win.
“Our girls did a great job moving the ball up field tonight with unselfish passing. I received a cross pass that I was able to place in goal,” Holcomb said.
“We want to keep our energy high as we head towards the postseason. We continue to build team chemistry.”
Grain Valley kept Raytown on the defense through both halves of play. An eye popping 35 to 3 shots on goal advantage for the Lady Eagles was proof of their ability to create opportunities. Holcomb was joined by Broockerd, Meghan Knust, Annabelle Totta, Emma Thiessen, Rian Handy, and Lexie Arreguin in scoring a goal. Perhaps the most unique of all shots that added to the scoreboard for Grain Valley was off the foot of Arreguin.
The junior defender is not shy about being in the middle of the mix on corner kicks. Arreguin relishes the opportunity to head the ball in net. A unique trick was accomplished by Arreguin this time around though as she lofted the ball with her right foot over the Blue Jay goalie before it struck the crossbar and bounced into the back of the net. The tricky shot came five minutes into the second half of play.
“I was not expecting the shot to go in. It is fun to score as a defender. The chance does not come around very often. That makes it that much more awesome,” Arreguin said.
“The grind keeps going as the season continues in that we want to find ways to continue to improve. We take it one opponent at a time and know there are technical things in practice that we need to work on.”
Lady Eagles varsity soccer assistant coach Brett Lewis is aware that the team is one week away from the Class 3 District 14 Tournament. Lewis was candid about the opportunities for improvement that presented themselves following the win against Raytown. The first of which was for the team to keep their eyes on their matchup against the Truman Patriots on May 13th.
“One game at a time is our focus. I thought we got better at finishing in the second half tonight. The first half we shot at the keeper a lot. We will continue to work at finding the corners away from the goalkeeper. Our ability to finish will matter more and more the further we play down the stretch. The final touch (of the soccer ball) with a bit of composure on our end will matter,” Lewis said.
“Our style of play will not change. We will continue to play through our middle three while finding our outside forwards in behind the back line. Being more polished with our touch and making movement off the ball more crisp will only help us. It is just a matter of fine tuning.”
Grain Valley improves to a record 16-2-1 on the season. Sophomore goalkeeper Camihle Williams is credited for the shutout against Raytown. The Lady Eagles remain undefeated in the White Division of the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference.