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No time for fear

Krall brings consistency in goal that Canyon has not had in years

Posted: February 16, 2009 1:12 a.m.
Updated: February 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Canyon junior goalkeeper Alex Krall had to conquer fear in order to ensure her team's success.

 
For some people, fear drives them to excel.

For Canyon junior goalkeeper Alex Krall, it is a healthy fear and one that is self-imposed.

"She keeps trying to prove to her team that she can do this, and she can," says Canyon head coach Eric White.
Entering the season, Krall was in a position battle with fellow junior Kristen Grunhold.

However, she was not only battling for playing time, but battling with self-confidence.

Soccer helped her turn the corner.

"I have low self-esteem, so to be confident in something like soccer or my studies, I just feel really powerful," says Krall.

Her teammates always in mind, she simply does not want to let them down.

Ask Krall any question and inevitably, her team comes into it.

Yet, it is her individual growth that has ultimately helped propel Canyon to a co-Foothill League championship and a No. 1 seed heading into the CIF-Southern Section girls soccer playoffs.

What has the growth produced?

"What we've been lacking since Lauren McClellan several years ago," White says. "This is the most consistent goalkeeper play we have had in the last five years."

Her position between the posts is a sink-or-swim role.

She has to be fearless when an opposing player is charging and she has to throw herself at the play.

"It's adrenaline," she says. "In the moment of the game, I'm just going so hard and so fast, thinking to myself that I need to protect the goal for my team. I sacrifice my body and it doesn't matter to me if I get hurt or not."

Her head-first play equated to eight shutouts in 10 league games, only giving up two goals.

"I feel that if you don't believe in yourself that you can't do it, then you probably won't succeed," Krall says. "For example, with myself, if I hesitate to go out and dive for (the ball), then they are most likely going to score. It's a real upsetting moment. You know that you need to just be fearless and do your very best in each and every game."

Prior to league play, Canyon began to fall into a little bit of a slump and Krall's starting job came into question.

However, White decided to stick with his keeper, an investment that has paid off.

In Canyon's final three games, the Cowboys matched up against Hart, Saugus and Valencia - three of the top four teams in the Foothill (the other being Canyon).

Krall played some of her best soccer in the season-ending gauntlet.

The results: A 1-0 win over the Indians, a 1-0 win over the Centurions, and a 0-0 tie with the Vikings.

Following Thursday's match with Valencia, she identified an eight-inch gash sustained during a one-on-one in the second half.

"I didn't even know she was hurt," White says.

Canyon is peaking at the right time and Krall credits the team's 3-1 win over Valencia on Jan. 27 as a turning point.

The team as a whole had to gain confidence in themselves, and believe they could come back from a deficit.

When the Vikings jumped out first on a Kelly Deckers goal, the Cowboys found themselves in an uncomfortable position - playing from behind.

"I think once we started gelling together and realizing all of our individual talents, it was a real confidence-booster," Krall says. "We can trust everyone and we can do our greatest. At the beginning of the season we wanted to get this far and we wanted to go to CIF."

For a team and a player that may have lacked confidence coming into the season, their persistence and drive has led to success on the field.

"She's gained a ton of confidence in herself, and our defense has gained confidence in her," White says.

In Krall's case, it has instilled in her a power that will carry into next season and beyond her time in goal.

It has also developed character and confidence.

And no fear.


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