EMPORIA — It wasn't the championship game, but that didn't stop the Valley Center girls soccer from celebrating its third-place finish in the Class 5A tournament.
Valley Center (15-6) overcame an early deficit to beat Bishop Carroll 2-1. In the process, the Hornets were able to extract a little revenge from a loss by penalty kicks to Carroll early in the season.
"We're No. 1 in Wichita," said Valley Center senior forward Whitney Shelton.
The Hornets were caught off guard by Carroll (17-2-1) almost five minutes into the game when Mallory Walden scored off a deflected save by Valley Center goalkeeper senior Andrea Hill. It took the Hornets 2 minutes, 15 seconds to respond with a goal by freshman Hanna Shelton in a drizzling rain.
"I'm very proud of the girls," Valley Center coach Jay Burger said. "We gave up that goal early, and it would have been very easy to have folded it up, but we fought back. Once we got it even I felt like the girls lifted their heads up."
The Hornets’ go-ahead goal with less than 26 minutes remaining was scored by senior Brittani Greenlee.
"It's what I've been waiting for all season and I got it," she said.
After an undefeated run to the 5A tournament, Carroll (17-2-1) was unable to rebound from its first loss Friday to St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Eagles had 10 first-half shots, but were stagnant after halftime with two shots.
"Unfortunately we just didn't play with much emotion," Carroll coach Greg Rauch said. "It was our worst game of the season, that's for sure."
Aquinas finished the tournament by claiming its second straight title, a 5-0 win over Blue Valley Southwest.
Valley Center (15-6) 1 1 — 2
Bishop Carroll (17-2-1) 1 0 — 1
First half—Carroll, Walden (unassisted); Valley Center, H. Shelton (W. Shelton). Second half—Valley Center, Greenlee (unassisted). Shots—Valley Center 4-4—8, Carroll 10-2—12. Saves—Valley Center, Hill 5-1—6, Carroll, Allen 2-5—7, Stricker 0-1—1.
St. Thomas Aquinas (16-5) 2 3 — 5
Blue Valley Southwest (16-4-1) 0 0 — 0
First half—Aquinas, Alfonsin (Sweeney), Heilman (unassisted). Second half—Aquinas, Alfonsin (Pyle), Disidore (unassisted), Mugg (unassisted). Shots—BV Southwest 1-2—3, Aquinas 5-11—16. Saves—BV Southwest, Kealey 1-3—4; Aquinas, Harrison 1-1—2.