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Examiner
  • Eagles looking on bright side despite PK loss

  • Even after a heartbreaking loss Friday night, it was just about impossible to dampen the Grain Valley girls soccer team’s enthusiasm.

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  • Even after a heartbreaking loss Friday night, it was just about impossible to dampen the Grain Valley girls soccer team’s enthusiasm.
    The Eagles suffered a 1-0 loss to Raytown after coming up short 3-1 in penalty kicks in the championship of the Raytown/Raytown South Tournament. The defeat was especially frustrating because the Blue Jays rarely pushed the ball anywhere near the Grain Valley goal in regulation or either 10-minute overtime period.
    And yet, after the match the Eagles were almost entirely focused on the positives of a week in which they downed Ray-South and stunned Notre Dame de Sion for the first time in school history to advance to the finals for the first time in the three years they’ve played in the tourney.
    “We’re stronger as a team,” Grain Valley junior forward Kali Carson said. “We know we can do good. We know we can beat teams like Sion. We made history beating Sion. But, it sucks to lose like that.”
    The Eagles (9-5) consistently kept the ball in the attacking half and manufactured a handful of quality scoring chances in getting off 25 shots to Raytown’s four. In the 33rd minute, Carson fired a shot that deflected off the post. Then in the 56th minute, Devan Fairfield blasted an attempt that hit the top corner of the Raytown post and was deflected out of bounds by Jays goalkeeper Kelsey Barrett.
    “We were strong the whole game,” Eagles junior Abby Winter said. “We just couldn’t get a shot off. We kept taking shots, but we weren’t getting lucky. We kept trying.”
    Barrett, who finished with 25 saves, again came up huge in the penalty kicks. She blocked Kylie Wagener’s attempt to get things started. Then Sydney Holcomb and Carson misfired on shots as the Jays clinched the victory. Winter connected on the Eagles’ lone successful PK.
    “Their keeper did very well,” Eagles coach Aleana Balistreri said. “She was always in the right spot and we had one of those off games where we could not get our shots on goal. Usually we don’t have that problem, but tonight we obviously did.
    “I wasn’t upset at all with the girls at all with the way we played tonight, it’s just one of things. Even at halftime and going into the second overtime we were talking about how we have to score and we just couldn’t do it.”
    At the start of the season one of the Eagles’ team goals was to win one of their three regular-season tournaments. All but one of those were rained out, so they just missed out. But despite that disappointment, Winter said, the positives of the last three matches far outweigh Friday’s momentary frustration.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I feel like we grew closer together,” Winter said. “We picked each other up more. We never got down. We fought it out.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
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