With about 15 minutes left after giving up an equalizer, Bishop Carroll coach Greg Rauch looked to assistant coach Harold Stimmel.
“You know what, we’re going to find out what we’re made of,” Stimmel told Rauch.
Six minutes later, Carroll sophomore Khloe Schuckman begged for the ball on the right wing.
She pushed to the corner and lofted a cross to fellow sophomore forward Anna Lasak. Lasak twisted to her left and got a right-footed volley to it; it carried over Kapaun goalkeeper Maggie Koster and dribbled in.
That goal helped seal a 2-1 win in the 2019 Titan Classic on Saturday. More importantly, it proved though Carroll is still learning about itself, it is ready to contend with the Wichita area’s bests now, Rauch said.
“Watching some of the great teams in this tournament, I thought to myself, ‘Man, these are groups we very well may see later,’ ” he said. “So wins here might mean that we lost them in the postseason.”
Last year, the Golden Eagles suffered crippling results against Wichita East, Kapaun and Maize.
East held them to a draw in the City League title game. Kapaun beat them away on its home field, which cost them the league crown. And Maize beat them in the Titan Classic championship game and again in the Class 5A third-place game.
Thursday, Carroll beat East 2-0 to reach the title game. Maize fell to Kapaun 2-1 in penalty kicks. And though Lasak said the group hasn’t hyping up the matchup against Kapaun, the Eagles knew what was at stake.
“We were talking about it yesterday during our practice,” she said. “We just had not get to get mentally ready to play them and not get too high or too low.”
Carroll opened the scoring Saturday just 10 minutes in. Senior center back Paige Liston connected on a headed corner from sophomore defender Paige Stranghoner. Liston’s effort launched into the roof of the net and left the Kapaun goalkeeper with no chance.
After several strong chances on both sides, Kapaun answered with 15 minutes to go as senior winger Emily Michaelis buried her second chance in the past two days. She swiped a turnover in the Carroll final third and fired to goal on Eagles freshman goalkeeper Madi Wingler. The ball deflected off her hands and carried over and in.
Rauch said it would have been easy to close up shop and hold on for penalty kicks, but his team’s reaction and Lasak’s goal said all he needed to know about the direction of the 2019 team.
“We put last year in the past,” Liston said. “Every team is different every year, and we are just going out there and trying our hardest to show we’re different.”