After surrendering the game-tying goal in the 76th minute, the Van Horn girls soccer team needed a pick-me-up.
It got it in the form of sophomore midfielder Xitlalic Aguilar.
She scored the biggest goal of her high school career 18 seconds into overtime. A kick from Cordilia Payne deflected off a Marshall defender near the top of the 18-yard box. Aguilar raced in and drilled a shot past goalkeeper Kassidy Heying to give the Falcons a 3-2 win Monday in the first round of the Class 3 District 15 tournament at home.
The second-seeded Falcons will take on the No. 1 seed Grain Valley Eagles, who defeated Winnetonka 10-0 in the other first-round game, in the district title game at 6 p.m. today at Van Horn High School.
After Aguilar scored her game-winner, the girls shouted, started a group hug and jumped up and down yelling “Van Horn! Van Horn! Van Horn!”
“That was pure hustle,” Van Horn coach Vanessa Brockmeier said of Aguilar’s goal. “She just went in full speed. It was her heart and hustle and got that goal.
“I am still picturing it in my head. I am about to have a heart attack still.”
Aguilar deferred the credit to her teammates for the goal.
“I couldn’t have done this without my teammates,’ said Aguilar, as her teammates were screaming and taking cell phone pictures. “We put a lot of hard work to get this first district game. That goal was for them.
“I couldn’t believe it honestly.”
Van Horn (10-9) overcame a 1-0 deficit to win a playoff game for the first time in 10 years. The Owls scored the first goal of the game after Van Horn’s goalkeeper illegal picked up the ball outside of the penalty box.
That set up Heying with a free kick at the top of the box that she drilled into the back of the net in the first half.
That score held until halftime. After the Falcons narrowly missed on a pair of shots early in the second half, senior forward Gloria Guerrero dribbled to her right past two defenders and punched a shot inside the left post for the equalizer in the 46th minute.
Payne put the Falcons ahead 2-1 when she dribbled the ball near the top of the penalty box and roped a shot just under the crossbar and into the goal in the 66th minute.
“I was meaning to get the ball to the back post, but the ball sailed over the goalie’s head and went in,” Payne said.
Marshall tied it in the 76th minute off a corner kick from Skylar Walton and a close-range goal from Heying.
However, Aguilar made Marshall’s jubilation from the game-tying goal short lived.
“That was amazing,” Payne said. “I sent it, I barely got my foot on it and it went off a defender and she was able to put it in.”
GRAIN VALLEY 10, WINNETONKA 0: Grain Valley senior Kailey Larson was just two days removed from running three relay races in the Class 4 District 7 meet for the girls track and field team.
Now, Larson, who runs track and plays soccer in the spring, will play two games in a row after scoring a season-high four goals in a mercy-rule victory over the Griffins Monday.
“I had Sunday to recover,” Larson said. “Just drank a lot of water.”
Grain Valley head coach Tyler Nichol was appreciative of the efforts of his senior forward.
“She works extremely hard, she’s a great kid and I can’t say enough good things about her,” Nichol said. “She really wants to continue doing both (soccer and track) because she excels at both.”
And she’s done so during a senior year in which she was recovering from a broken leg she suffered last November. She began rehab in December.
“She struggled a little bit (at the beginning of the season),” Nichol said. “She’s still not where she wants to be fitness wise for track or soccer. These last two weeks she’s felt better and has started to turn it on for both sports.”
Freshman Rian Handy added two goals, Raena Childers had two goals and two assists, Kendra Sibert notched one goal off Shelbie Purdom’s assist, Kailyn Duett had one goal and Sophie Broockerd had an assist.
Nichol subbed in some of its bench players and got some junior varsity players some playing time after the Eagles went up 5-0 in the first half.
“I am working my way to prove myself to become a starter,” said Handy, a reserve midfielder. “I felt awesome, honestly, feeling like I can help my team in districts is such a great feeling.”