It’s been a whirlwind of a season for Lee’s Summit North senior Kaylie Rock.
Head coach Ryan Kelley has been switching his star forward to different positions on the field based on who the Broncos are playing. She’s been a forward, an attacking midfielder, a center midfielder and even a defender for spurts.
But she’s handled it well and helped her team advance to the Class 4 state quarterfinals against Liberty at 1 p.m. Saturday at North.
The senior hasn’t put up gaudy stats as she has 12 goals and six assists – compared to 21 goals last season – but she was still well recognized as she was named Suburban Big Six Conference Player of the Year.
“I was honestly kind of surprised, but when Coach Kelley told me that I got it, I was really grateful and excited,” Rock said. “I have worked really hard and done everything I can for this team.”
For most of her career, Rock has served as one of the team’s primary scorers.
“She helps us out in the middle and when she’s up top, she knows how to make the runs to play the ball through,” North senior Joanie Westcoat said. “She’s a key concept for our attacking side.”
However, Rock has worn many hats during the 2019 season. With all of the position changes she’s been through, Rock has had to take on more of a defensive role than she’s been used to. She even played at the left back position some in a 4-0 win over Blue Springs in the sectional round Tuesday.
“We’ve taken advantage of her athleticism in the midfield to have her create a little bit more,” Kelley said. “There were times we asked her to man-mark (St. Teresa Academy’s) Lilly Farkas (a two time all-state selection). We took Kaylie out of our attack and asked her to do that.
“We took the risk and it paid off both times. She did a tremendous job.”
Rock said the position challenges certainly came with many challenges, though.
“I had never played center mid before,’ Rock said. “It was different for me. I had to have a lot of reminders on what to do and where to be at the right time. I got used to it, but I am glad to be back at forward again.”
And she has all the intangibles that made her one of the best players in the state. But for Kelley, Rock’s most important attribute is her selflessness.
“She’s a hard worker,” Kelley said. “She wants to be good. She wants to do things you ask of her and help the team. She’s more concerned with that than her personal accolades. She’s also a smart athlete. She picks things up real quick. She’s very gifted athletically and can adjust to many situations.”
That showed during the Broncos’ 2017 run to the Class 4 state championship game. She scored two goals in a win over St. Teresa’s Academy in sectionals and scored two more in a win over Lee’s Summit West in the state semifinals.
“She was scoring a lot of goals and making big plays,” Kelley said. “She had a tremendous run toward the end of the season. She elevates her play during this time of the season.”
Rock hopes to have a similar playoff run this year, as an individual player and as a team.
“I think we’re all feeling really good, and we all have the drive to score,” Rock said. “I really want to get as far as we can. I don’t think a lot of people thought we would get this far.”