A bit of senior greatness, a glimpse into the future and a historic victory were all key elements in Grain Valley High School’s 11-2 Missouri River Valley Conference West win over Harrisonville Thursday at home.
Senior Rylan Childers added to her single-season goal record with six goals, padding that total to 57, while her little sister Raena, a freshman, added a hat trick in the last MRVC West game in any sport for the Eagles.
“This is it, the last MRVC West game for any of our teams because this is the last regular-season game of the spring for any sport,” assistant principal and former activities director Mike Tarrants said. “I hope the girls realize how big this win was because we’re never going to play in the MRVC again.”
Coach Tyler Nichol realized the importance of the win as he gathered his team around the bench for a post-game photo.
“This is our 10th anniversary,” he said, with a touch of pride in his voice, “and we’ve come a long way over the past 10 years. We have little kids in Grain Valley who are so excited about our program, they’re playing soccer and can’t wait to get up and play with this team.”
That’s because the Eagles finished this season with a 20-3-1 overall record and perfect 10-0 MRVC West mark. Grain Valley has won back-to-back conference championships and five of the last six conference crowns.
“These girls work so hard, and they play the game the right way,” Nichol said. “We’re so proud of what Rylan has accomplished, and it looks like Raena is going to have a great career, too. In a game like this, we were able to get a lot of kids into the game and that gets everyone in the right frame of mind for district next week.”
The Eagles will host the Class 3 District 15 tournament and will play at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Kansas City East in the semifinals.
It didn’t take the Eagles offense long to get going against the Wildcats as Raena scored just 2 minutes into the first period. Rylan scored the next four goals and Marissa Schmitt scored the final goal of the first half with 5 minutes left in the period.
“It felt good to score the first goal because we knew we could have a good night, and it’s always fun to score first,” said Raena, who added two second-half goals. “We’re like a family as a team and to be able to share this with my real sister is really cool.”
Rylan, one of the premier players in Missouri, agreed.
“I got to play as a freshman with my older sister and now, I am a senior and get to play with Raena, and that is just super cool,” Rylan said. “Tonight was great because all our teammates got to play and have a good time, and it was the last MRVC game we’ll ever play.”
“We knew about that and we really wanted to win tonight.”
Rylan also added two second-half goals and Schmitt wrapped up the big night for the Eagles with her second goal.
Raegen Beeding started in goal and Danni Timmons played much of the second half.
“Danni’s a senior, and she has basically been our backup goalie all season,” Nichol said, “but tonight was the first time she got to play. It was fun to see her in the net.”