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By Jim Misunas
VYPE South Central Kansas
When Bishop Carroll’s Hanleigh Allen converted the 1-0 game-winner off Liz Aiken’s pass in the Titan Classic against rival
Maize High early in the season, it sparked post-season thoughts.
After all, if the Golden Eagles can beat Maize, perhaps they can eventually challenge the seven-year reign of state champion St. Thomas Aquinas.
“It was great we could beat Maize. Our reaction was pure joy,” Allen said. “We were on the field for 20 minutes talking about it. That win tells us we’re capable of achieving big goals.”
Maize humbled the Eagles in a 6-1 victory last year, a game that stuck with the Golden Eagles.
“We used it as a learning tool,” Allen said.
A new year delivered a fresh attitude, keyed by Kansas State commit Maguire Sullivan, who helps anchor Carroll’s defense, along with Bethel signee Jadin Kaltenbach and senior Whitney Bockover. among others.
“We were hyped to play Maize,” she said. “We shut down their offensive movement.”
Allen scored 13 goals in Carroll’s first six games, on pace to break the school’s scoring record of 30 goals.
“As far as her effectiveness as a scorer – Hanleigh has an array of skills to beat a defense,” said Carroll head coach Greg Rauch. “She has the composure, touch, ball striking and above all of these is her drive to achieve. She just never quits working.”
Rauch said Allen is motivated to push herself in every drill.
“Hanleigh is extremely competitive even in the simplest of drills,” he said. “She wants to finish first with the highest touches.”
Allen said new Golden Eagle players deliver improved speed, which frees her for scoring opportunities.
“Our freshmen give us speed on the outside and in the middle,” she said. “They are able to deliver the ball in the right spots.”
Allen counters pressure defense with her speed while dribbing the ball.
“There’s always some marking me, but I don’t pay too much attention because I’m thinking a play ahead and what I’m going to do to break away.”
Wichita’s WSC Fire club soccer team has developed Sedgwick County’s players against Kansas City’s teams. Sullivan and Bockover join Allen on the summer team.
“There’s great players on every high school team, but the summer team puts them together,” she said. “Everyone is a great player who pushes you to get better.”
Rauch said Allen’s ability to score with eiother foot is a nice advantage.
“Hanleigh is right foot dominant, but has the ability to score with both feet for sure,” he said. “She struck the crossbar against Maize from 30 yards with her left foot.”
Rauch said Carroll’s stair-step approach starts at league and goes to regionals and state. The gorilla from St. Thomas Aquinas is waiting.
“We want to compete for City League, regional, and state championships. We can only control how we perform, If we take care of our responsibilities, then the results will take care of themselves.
Rauch first learned about Hanleigh when her older sister Keighton played goalie for Carroll before signing with Texas-El Paso.
“Hanleigh always had a ball at her feet,” he said. “Their dad told me that Hanleigh was going to be every bit the standout athlete. He looks like Nostradamus now.”