Her sisters went through it when they played for the Grain Valley girls soccer team. This season, Raena Childers has to deal with the same thing.
So far through four games, Childers has been man marked and frequently double-teamed by opponents, just like Reighan and Rylan.
Even with Blue Springs focusing a lot of their attention to stopping the sophomore, Childers found a way to come through in double overtime.
She split a pair of defenders on the right wing, got inside the Wildcats penalty box, and punched a shot inside the left post to give her team a 1-0 win Friday at Peve Stadium.
Her teammates on the bench jumped up and down as she was greeted with pats on the back and high-fives. Once she reached the sideline, her sister Rylan, who is playing for the UMKC women’s soccer team, gave Raena a bear hug.
“I was just happy we got the game over in the last two minutes,” said Raena, whose goal came with 1:50 left. “I am not ready for another PK shootout.
“They had two of their (midfielders) swarming me every time I got the ball. I got a through ball and got a couple of touches and cut through them.”
Added Grain Valley coach Tyler Nichol: “That’s what elite level players do. They are like, ‘There may be two defenders, but I am going to take them on and see if I can create a special moment.’ And that’s what she did.”
Raena was happy to not go to a shootout because the Eagles won one in the season opener against St. Pius X on March 16 in the Platte County Invitational. They played two other games on March 19 and March 20, and Friday’s contest against Blue Springs was their fourth game in seven days.
“We’re tired because we played (four) games this week, and I am glad it’s over, and that we played really,” Raena said.
Nichol said the fatigue appeared to set in for both teams as Blue Springs also played three games in the Platte County Invitational.
“Both teams are so tired,” Nichol said. “We both played four games in seven days, which is a lot early in the year. There were some heavy legs out there tonight.”
Grain Valley’s bend-but-don’t break defense held up against Blue Springs’ attack The Wildcats had 11 shots including six on goal, but junior goalkeeper Raegan Beeding made saves on all of them, including a pair of diving saves on shot from point-blank range early on.
“I think we did a really good job stopping the offense of Blue Springs,” Beeding said. “We made really good tackles on the ball.”
Beeding was able to come up big despite playing through some minor injuries, Nichol said.
“She’s been fantastic,” Nichol said. “She’s stepped up for us as a captain this year. She’s got multiple fingers taped up. One of them is super swollen and has a little splint in there. She just said, ‘I am going to play through it. I got to be there for my team.’”
Wildcats goalkeeper Gabi Elliott had a strong game of her own as she tallied eight saves. She also stopped some Eagles shots from close range, and held them off until Childers’ game-winner.
“I thought Gabi did really well, and made some good saves for us,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said. “We just couldn’t find the back of the net. We created some good chances, but (Beeding) was really good tonight. We also had an open shot from Hannah Young that barely went over the goal. I thought we played well.”