Varsity Soccer

Goalkeeper saves 3 penalty kicks after 4 overtimes in state quarterfinal

Carroll senior Aston McCorry saved three penalty kicks against Valley Center on Tuesday to advance to the Class 5A semifinals.
Carroll senior Aston McCorry saved three penalty kicks against Valley Center on Tuesday to advance to the Class 5A semifinals. The Wichita Eagle

Ashton McCorry was just upset she let one in.

The Carroll High goalkeeper saved three penalty kicks after four overtime periods Tuesday to help the Golden Eagles get past Valley Center and advance to the Kansas Class 5A girls soccer state semifinals. Carroll is two wins away from its first state title in school history.

"PKs are 50 percent guessing and 50 percent confidence," McCorry said. "You analyze the person walking up to you. You watch their eyes, and when they're running, you watch their hips."

Carroll was down 1-0 after 13 minutes. Jessica Sharp assisted freshman Haley Sparks, whose shot deflected off McCorry and dribbled slowly into the net. Halfway through the second half, Carroll got its equalizer.

Freshman Bailey Wise, who had played most of the season on the junior varsity squad, got on the end of a cross from sophomore Taryn Lubbers. That is how regulation and, the first, second, third and fourth overtime periods ended, 1-1.

The Eagles have battled through countless injuries to key starters this season; that was why Wise was on the field. When the penalty shootout started, Lubbers hadn't been on the field in about 30 minutes because of an injury. Rauch asked if she could give one good kick, and she did.

"When you say 'Next man up,' by the end of it, we had Popsicle sticks and duct tape holding our team together," coach Greg Rauch said.

With a half-whole lineup, McCorry was called upon to save the day against the No. 1 seed in the regional.

"With a kid like that, you just know you have yourself a stellar athlete," Rauch said. "She has been since day 1, and pretty non-flappable, really. She may have been pretty nervous, but she has concealed that from the very beginning."

The Eagles have been through the gauntlet this season; McCorry's heroics were just another chapter. Carroll played Kapaun twice, Maize twice, St. Teresa's Academy (Missouri), Washburn Rural, Manhattan, Northwest and East.

All of those teams made it to at least their regional finals, and three of them are heading to the state semifinals.

With that schedule, Carroll has taken its bruises and entered the regional tournament as the No. 6 seed. But the Eagles are tested, and McCorry said that will help them going forward.

"This is the second time coach Rauch has been lower than a No. 2 team," she said. "That alone was really motivating."

As mentioned though, Carroll has never won a girls soccer state championship. Only one school in the Wichita area has, Trinity Academy in 2014. Kansas City area teams have dominated the girls soccer scene.

McCorry said that doesn't matter.

"At the end of the day, it's just soccer," she said. "We could play the U.S. women's national team, and if we do what we know how to do, things could go our way. Whoever is on the other side of the field does not matter. They are all wearing a jersey. They all lace up their shoes just like you."

Carroll will play Blue Valley Southwest, last year's Class 5A champion, at 5 p.m. Friday at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.