Ayala nears school record for goals, paces Fort Osage past Truman

Michael Smith
The Examiner
Aliyah Ayala

Even after the 2020 girls soccer season was canceled last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fort Osage senior Aliyah Ayala is on the verge of breaking a school career record.

She will have only played three seasons instead of the normal four, but before this season ends, Ayala might well be the record holder for career goals. 

Ayala notched a hat trick Tuesday, reaching a total of 114 goals for her high school career, and helped her Indians capture a 7-1 victory against Truman in Suburban Middle Six Conference action.

The senior now just needs three more goals to break the school record.

“It’s exciting, but that’s not my main goal this season,” Ayala said. “I just like spending time with my girls and getting the result we want. If goals come along in the process, that’s exciting.” 

Fort Osage head coach Michael Brown has certainly been impressed with Ayala’s goal-scoring prowess. 

“She beat the single-season record her freshman year and crushed her own record her sophomore year.” Brown said. “I think she had 102 goals between those two years. To be able to score that much in two years is impressive. She is picking up where she left off this year.”

Junior Laney Smith scored the game’s first goal for Truman (3-7, 1-5 Middle Six) to put her team up early. But Ayala responded with a goal off an assist from junior Emma Le to tie it in the 17th minute.

That started a run of seven straight goals for the Indians (8-8, 5-2). An own goal against the Truman defense off a corner kick from Ayala, and a left-footed shot that went inside the left post from the senior pushed Fort Osage’s lead to 3-1 going into halftime.

“We came out a little too relaxed.” said Ayala, who has signed to play collegiately at Emporia State. “After that first goal, we knew we needed to get it together.”

In the second half, Ayala completed the hat trick with another left-footed goal that she punched in the upper 90 from about 25 yards out.

“It was predictable when I shot with my right foot,” Ayala said. “So I needed to practice with my left foot. Now it’s harder to know which foot I am going to shoot with.”

Ayala has always been able to do that since she came to the Indians, Brown said. 

“It’s because she worked on it so much in the offseason,” Brown said. “Being two-footed has been a big part of her game.”

After overcoming some adversity before the start of the season, sophomore Macie Smith scored her first two varsity goals in the second half. Her first score came when she lobbed a shot over Truman goalkeeper Katherine Dillon, who came off her line to the top of the penalty box. 

The second goal came when Smith evaded a Truman defender by sprinting to the right wing and punching in a shot between the goalkeeper’s legs.

“I had to come back from a broken tibia,” Smith said. “I had to work my way up from (junior varsity). Those two goals have really set the tone for the rest of the season.”

The Indians’ final score came on a breakaway goal from Le.

“Offensively, we just made things a little simpler,” Brown said. “We tried to be a little more direct, and we hit a few more shots on targets. The goals came a little later than they should have.”

Truman continued to struggle and dropped its fifth game in a row, as the young Patriots have had to combat multiple injuries and illness. During that five-game stretch, the Patriots were missing up to 10 players at times. 

“We had a bunch of girls return from being sick today,” Truman coach Manny Tovar said. “This is the first time we’ve had everyone back from those last four, five games. It’s been good to have everyone back. But we still had a couple players gone because of a (student council) banquet.”