It was a great start to the week for the Lady Eagles Soccer Team – and an agonizing end…
On Wednesday, the team defeated cross-town rival Mullen 3-0 in the 4A State Quarterfinal match, which was characterized by inches of rain, an hour long lightning delay, and a raucous crowd. After a back and forth scoreless draw in the first half, it took the Eagles just 15 seconds into the second half to score. The Eagles stole the opening kick off, sent it to Cori Dyke, who raced down the flanks, beating two Mullen defenders and delivering a ball to the back post that was finished into the net by freshman Haley Harnisch. After a flurry of Valor attacks and shots over the next eight minutes, lightning cracked and the teams headed into their locker rooms to regroup. When the teams stepped back onto the rain-soaked field, there was a driving wind and rain storm at the Eagles back, making it difficult for Mullen to get out of their end. The wind-aided Eagles once again unleashed a flurry of attacks that produced two more goals. Cori Dyke scored a goal of her own this time, hitting a cracker of a shot from 25 yards out that blistered past the Mullen GK into the Upper-Ninety of the goal. Freshman Harnisch quickly added her second goal of the game to put the Eagles up 3-0 on what can only be described as a heroic effort. Harnisch, at full speed on a break away, had the ball hang up in a puddle and then proceeded to trip and stumble to regain her balance for nearly 20 yards, until she finally dove at the ball with her head to slide it past the Mullen GK. With the goal, the Eagles were on their way to a re-match with D’evelyn in a 4A Semifinal Showdown at Shea Stadium on Saturday.
On Saturday, the Eagles faced a fierce Jaguars team from D’Evelyn High School, with a trip to the State Title Match on the line. The Jaguars came out flying, pressuring the Eagles at every position, but the Valor back line and GK Kenzie Egan weathered the storm with some great defending and stops. After a few minutes, the Eagles finally settled into the game, made some adjustments in midfield, and began to get the chances they wanted in and around the box. The Eagles missed a volley just off the crossbar, had a few dangerous set plays from midfield, and a few really good corner kick opportunities, but nothing was dropping in for the Eagles. The Jaguars defense stood firm through it all, and their offense created a few more chances of their own. With both teams defending and attacking at a high level, the half-time score stood at 0-0, and it was anybody’s game for the taking. Second half action saw more back and forth action with Valor GK Alex Daws making a massive save on a D’Evelyn breakaway, followed by a 20 minute period where it looked like the Eagles might finally break through, but in the end the D’Evelyn defense and GK came up big time and time again. Finally, with about two minutes left in regulation, D’Evelyn picked up a loose ball in the midfield, sent it through to the right side of the box, and it was delivered back to the middle, where it was hammered home for the 1-0 victory and the end of the Eagles storybook season came to a screeching halt.
Valor was led all year by nine amazing seniors who have given their all to the program across their years. Thank you, Emersyn, Camryn, Mackenzie, Kylie, Paige, Grace, Ellary, Bri, and Tess – you will be severely missed and never forgotten.