by Michael Smith
Grain Valley was in for a fight.
Six games into the Suburban White Conference schedule, the Eagles were seriously challenged for the first time in Thursday’s game against Fort Osage.
In the first matchup with the Indians, Grain Valley cruised to a 4-0 victory. The second game was a dog fight as both teams went into halftime deadlocked at 1-1.
Grain Valley took a 2-1 lead after a goal in the 58th minute, but about 9 minutes later, Fort Osage threatened to tie the game again.
Senior Emma Le was fouled by Grain Valley in the penalty box as she was awarded a penalty kick. The Fort senior tried to fake out Eagles goalkeeper Camihle Williams, but the junior made a sliding kick save and saved the ensuing rebound attempt by Le.
That ended up being the turning point in Grain Valley’s 4-1 victory at Fort Osage High School.
“We could have made it 2-2 and the game flipped on its head after that moment,” Indians head coach Michael Brown said. “They punished us after that.”
Williams said she knew exactly where to be on the penalty kick.
“I knew she was going to fake like she was going right the whole time,” Williams said. “I didn’t fall for it. I knew she was going to aim for the middle. It takes a few years to get used to anticipating fakes, but I can spot it most of the time.”
Grain Valley did make Fort Osage pay for not tying the game at that moment. That was the last shot on goal by the Indians as sophomore Emma Thiessen scored after chasing down a loose ball in the penalty box in the 72nd minute; and sophomore Annabelle Totta made a penalty kick after being fouled in the box with a little more than 5 minutes left to seal it.
While the Eagles ended up winning by three goals, head coach Brett Lewis admitted the game was far from the best performance his team has had this season.
“We had a hard time connecting on eight to 10 yard passes,” Lewis said. “We didn’t finish very well in the first half. We had a couple of opportunities we usually bury. If we make those, this game isn’t close.”
But when it was close, Williams came up with two huge saves. She had four total in the second half and was given the game ball by Lewis after the game.
“Camihle knows what she is going,” Lewis said. “She’s good at PKs and she prides herself on being able to stop them. She will admit it wasn’t her best game, but she made a big save and that gave us the momentum to score two more goals.”
In the first half, sophomore Meghan Knust scored on a give-and-go play in which she got an assist from Thiessen. Fort Osage tied it late in the first half after senior Madison Smith scored on a corner kick.
Knust broke the tie in the 58th minute with another give-and-go where Thiessen got another assist.
“We definitely had a rough start,” Knust said. “We played a new position, which messed us up a little bit. We just power through it.”
“The physicality frustrated us at first because we weren’t used to it, but we got used to it later.”
Grain Valley junior goalkeeper Camihle Williams, left, had for saves in the second half and Meghan Knust had two goals to help the team win 4-1 against Fort Osage Thursday on the road.
Photo credit: Michael Smith