Grain Valley girls soccer coach Aleana Balistreri, forward Hannah Eades and goalie Darby Scharfenkamp agreed Friday night’s 7-1 win over Summit Christian Academy was a confidence-booster.
For starters, the victory at Grain Valley High School might give Grain Valley confidence when it plays in future tournaments. In defeating SCA, Grain Valley won the SCA Cup – the first tournament title in the program’s six-year history, according to Balistreri.
“Can you believe that?” she asked.
Grain Valley’s tournament schedule each season might have been a reason the program didn’t secure its first championship until year No. 6.
“We play in about two to three tournaments every season – and we always try to play in some difficult tournaments, to where the games we’re playing are against harder opponents,” Balistreri said.
Some folks might wonder about the competition level Grain Valley faced in the SCA Cup, considering Grain Valley outscored its opponents 24-2. Balistreri, however, didn’t feel that “the competition has gone down, by any means” in the tournament.
“We’ve played Van Horn (and) O’Hara before,” she said. “We played O’Hara the other night – and that’s the first time we’ve beaten them. … I really just think that we are getting better.
“We’re meshing more as a team,” Balistreri added. “We have a lot of good senior leadership that’s mixing well with the younger good players.”
Eades, whose hat trick paced Grain Valley, said that Friday’s win would boost the girls’ confidence about starting their Missouri River Valley Conference West schedule next week.
“Next week’s going to ... (have) some pretty tough games,” she said.
Scharfenkamp also said that the victory would prepare Grain Valley for league play.
“We know we can work together,” said Scharfenkamp, who officially had eight saves Friday in her first game back from a recent bone contusion. “We know we can pass the ball well, as long as we just keep talking to each other and just stay confident.”
Grain Valley bolted to a 4-0 halftime lead en route to securing its confidence-boosting, tournament-clinching victory. Samantha Berg and Nathalia Barr each scored and Eades scored two goals — all within the first 20 minutes.
Berg, Eades and Barr each added goals early in the second half. Morgan Clark tallied a pair of assists and Barr, Kiley Wagener and Kali Carson each had one for the Eagles.
Kassi Ginther’s late goal for SCA finished the scoring in a game that demonstrated something to Balistreri.
“The girls proved that – each and every one of them – they are good soccer players,” she said.