Anya Castelli’s goal from the Stephens Stars’ Tuesday win over the Lyon College Scots made ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays on Wednesday.
Castelli’s game winning corner kick landed in the ninth spot on the list and marks the first time a Stephens’ player has been featured on the segment.
In the game against Lyon College, Stephens needed a win for a chance at the American Midwest Conference Championship. If the Stars had lost, its postseason hopes would have died right there. The game was a close neck-and-neck contest until Castelli scored off a corner kick near the midway point in the second half to break the tie. With the win, Stephens is now in the hunt for the final spot in the AMC Championship tournament.
Upon waking up this morning, Castelli was surprised by the wave of messages alerting her to the news.
“I was super excited,” she said. “When I woke up I had a ton of messages from my family and friends texting me that it made it on SportsCenter. The whole team reached out to say congratulations.”
Leading to the goal, Castelli knew what was at stake for her and the team. She backed up, signaled to her team that she was ready and kicked the ball over the Lyon defense without any deflections.
“The side of the field we were on and the wind helped make the goal possible,” Castelli said. “After I saw the ball hit the corner of the net I knew we won, and my team ran up to celebrate the goal.”
Stephens’ Sports Information Director, Nicholas Petrone, saw the Columbia Missourian’s video of the corner kick on Twitter and instantly realized what an incredible shot it was. From his previous experience in media relations, Petrone knew he could get a video of the play in the right hands. He couldn’t believe it at first the next morning, but after coach Kurtis Boardsen confirmed the play had made it onto ESPN, Petrone now knows the team is getting the national exposure it deserves.
“I’m ecstatic for the recognition that Anya, coach Kurtis, and the entire soccer program is getting. I’m excited for all of them,” Petrone said. “The team has worked hard all season. They’ve been coming out all year so this is all about them. They made the kick so they deserve all the credit and attention for this.”
The Stars now face a massive challenge in the AMC’s top team, Columbia College. The Cougars haven’t lost a conference game yet, and the No. 1 seed will be the biggest obstacle the Stephens have faced this season. But maybe this morale boost is exactly what the Stars need before heading into next week.
The Stars will face the Cougars at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Columbia College.