By CHUCKIE MAGGIO
Bishop Kearney free kick takers weren’t shy about their plans during the first half of the Kings’ match against the Finney Falcons on Thursday afternoon.
“Kaia!” they yelled on multiple occasions, before they even kicked the ball. The plan was simple, even if Finney knew what was coming: get the ball to Kaia Goode.
The junior validated her teammates’ trust once again, scoring two goals in just 35 seconds in Kearney’s 4-1 home victory.
Kearney peppered Finney goalkeeper Paris Blackmon with shots on goal, forcing the talented sophomore to make four saves in the first 10 minutes. Blackmon had saved all seven shots she faced before Goode broke through 20 minutes in off an assist from Katie O’Gara.
Goode wasn’t done, as the Kings’ leading scorer accepted a pass off the kickoff, made her way past multiple Falcon defenders and booted a second shot past Blackmon just 35 seconds after her first tally.
“I think it’s always attack mode,” Goode said of the second goal. “When you get one that quick it’s kind of a surprise, but you learn it’s always attack mode. You always have to go for the next goal, you always have to think about the next play. You can’t just settle.”
The goals were Goode’s eighth and ninth of the season. They stood as the lone scores for a little over 10 minutes before Katie O’Gara’s shot from just outside the 18-yard box found the top corner. Before the half was over, Emily Tytler collected the Kings’ fourth on a bar down strike.
“I think we came out really hard,” Kearney coach Kerri Steve remarked. “That’s something that we’ve been working on, is that the pressure has to start from the start of the game.”
Kearney, relentless as it had been in a 9-1 victory over Lima on Tuesday, outshot the Falcons 14-5. Finney took advantage of the rainy weather when Grace Kearney’s shot slipped through BK keeper Akon Awouk’s hands and into the net with 23:08 remaining in the second half, but a Kearney back line comprised of Taylor Norris, Kylie Steffen and Caroline O’Gara thwarted the Falcons’ slim comeback hopes.
The Kings have allowed just 10 goals through their first six games.
“I thought they did great,” Steve commented. “Their communication has really improved as we’ve moved through the season. We’ve got a lot of leaders on the field and we’ve got a lot of listeners on the field, which is really great to see. Our back line did a great job working together, covering for each other. They’re doing great.”
Goode scored 14 goals in 2019 and is five goals away from matching that total with seven regular season games left. She laughed while contending that a shot off the crossbar in the second half crossed the goal line, but was nevertheless pleased with the game’s outcome.
“I take it with pride, I definitely do,” Goode said of being one of the team’s go-to offensive players. “You always have to be there. If they’re calling your name you always have to have open ears; you always have to see the field. It feels good to know that my teammates trust me enough to just call me out and know I’m gonna get there.”
“Kaia, she’s awesome,” Steve said. “She’s focused, she is determined, she’s a hard worker. She’s got a great head on her shoulders. She makes good choices on and off the field and we’re just lucky to have her.”