Grain Valley wasn’t planning on a short evening Thursday against Raytown South.
The Eagles got one anyway.
Led by four goals from junior Rylan Childers, and two apiece from juniors Haley Hunter and Kailey Boyer, the Eagles blasted the Cardinals 10-0 at Van Horn High School for the Class 3 District 15 championship – their fifth straight district girls soccer title. Play was stopped at halftime because of the 10-goal mercy rule.
The Eagles (21-5) approached Thursday’s final by “making sure to play strong” and understanding they might have a tough go of it, said Childers.
“And so we came in with a strong head,” the midfielder said. “And we ended up getting the victory, which was our goal.”
Boyer, a forward, said the Eagles also planned to keep their game plan simple.
“(We planned to) play really easy passes and just work the ball around them, opposed to just taking it ourselves,” she said. “We tried to play less … selfish and more selfless.”
Boyer said that Grain Valley achieved that goal.
“We all worked together, made great passes,” she said.
Hunter, a midfielder, agreed.
“I think we worked really well together tonight,” she said.
By working together Thursday, the Eagles advanced to face Kearney (18-4) in a Class 3 sectional playoff at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Grain Valley High School’s Moody Murry Field. The Bulldogs defeated Platte County 2-1 in double overtime Wednesday night at Smithville for the District 16 title.
The Bulldogs also defeated the Eagles 4-2 when the teams met on May 18 at Kearney in non-conference play.
“We’re looking forward to playing better against them and coming out with a win,” Childers said.
Grain Valley coach Tyler Nichol hopes the regular-season loss to Kearney came at the right time of year for the Eagles to learn from it.
“It’s a good opportunity,” Nichol said. “It’s a measuring stick.”
It’s nice that the Eagles don’t have to travel for the rematch, Nichol said.
“Especially up there,” he stated. “It’s a bit of a drive. We like playing at home, feel like we play well there. And we’re excited for the challenge.”
With the loss to Grain Valley, Raytown South finished 9-16. South coach Whitney Wright considered the season another sign of improvement for the Cardinals, who’ve won progressively more games each season since going 3-18 in 2014.
“Improvements all around. … We’re working to build a program, not just a season,” Wright said. “So, one milestone at a time. Made it to the district championship this year. Maybe next year, we get a little further.”