The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

May 25, 2013

After last-minute win, Carl Junction soccer plays at Helias

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For Carl Junction girls soccer coach Kevin Hauck, the ending of the Bulldogs’ 3-2 win over Republic on Wednesday was worthy of a movie script.

Freshman Kaylen Kennedy, who made only one goal in the regular season, scored with 30 seconds left to lift Carl Junction to a 3-2 win over Republic in the Class 2 sectionals.

“It’s something you really only dream of in a movie, honestly,” Hauck said. “You never expect it to happen. Buzzer-beaters in basketball are rare. For something like that to happen in soccer is very rare. To be a part of it is an amazing feeling. Words can’t really explain how exciting it was to be out there and to be a part of that.”

The goal created an emotional moment for Kennedy and her teammates as they directed Carl Junction to the state quarterfinals for the first time since the program started five years ago.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “I was excited because we made history. It’s the farthest the Carl Junction girls team has ever gone. I was crying.”

The Bulldogs hope, however, that the movie doesn’t end there.

Carl Junction (19-5) will travel to face Helias Catholic (15-8) in the state quarterfinals at 2 p.m. today in Jefferson City.

“It’s a good feeling,” Carl Junction junior Karissa Degani said. “It’s an accomplishment, because it has been our dream ever since we started this program.”

The Bulldogs have certainly come a long way since Hauck helped launch the program five years ago.

“It’s amazing because five years ago we didn’t have a single win,” Hauck said. “We were 0-13. Now, we’re sitting here going for the quarterfinals on Saturday, and it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

Beating Republic was symbolic of Carl Junction’s progress.

“I thought that it was a huge win for us,” Hauck said. “The last three games we had played Republic we lost to them by one goal. So for us to be able to go to their place and get the victory was very important to us, this program and was a big confidence builder for our team.”

Hauck said much of the program’s progression has been helped by youth programs, traveling teams and summer soccer.

The young Bulldog team has only one senior and several key freshman and sophomore contributors.

Freshman Kira Wentworth serves as the team’s goalie, while sophomore Sydney Solberg, freshman Callie Degani, junior Taylor Beck and junior Anissa Williams are among the team’s top scorers.

“We’re not a team that focuses all of our scoring around one person,” Hauck said. “We’re an attack-minded team. That’s how I’ve tried to build this team, and the girls have responded well to it. Everybody can contribute and has contributed at some point this season. That makes us a dangerous team.”

Beck said the team will focus on ball control against Helias.

“I think we need to possess the ball like coach says,” she said. “When we do that, we’re unstoppable. If we can keep doing that, we can go all the way.”

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