Billy Blake is still trying to figure out what got into Kady Kriner on Tuesday. Sure, the Langley girls’ soccer coach knows the talent he possesses in his senior striker, but as Kriner netted six goals during Langley’s 8-0 season-opening win against Wakefield, Blake couldn’t help but search for an ulterior motive.
“When she made the sixth goal, I kept thinking that something was motivating her and I didn’t know what it was because her motor was going, her energy level was high and you could tell she wanted the ball,” Blake said. “But it was just a special night.”
There was no good-luck charm, pregame ritual or twist of fate — just a senior captain setting the tone for what Kriner and her teammates hope is an equally special season.
“I wasn’t striving for a record or thinking it would be a big game for me,” Kriner said in a Wednesday phone interview. “I was just working hard to finish the opportunities my teammates gave me and that I created. I knew I had a lot of goals by the end, but I didn’t go into the game shooting for six.”
Five of Kriner’s goals came in the first half and when she had secured her double hat trick just after halftime, only 42 minutes of total playing time had passed. A seventh shot into the net was negated by an offsides call, leaving Kriner one short of the VHSL record. Still, Kriner’s six goals places her atop the school and Virginia AAA Liberty District record books.
“When my coach first told me (on Wednesday), it kind of caught me off guard because I had no idea that I had set any kind of record,” said Kriner, who believes her previous game-high was four goals. “There was a lot of passing between us simultaneously as a team, and all of the goals were just being in the right place and anticipating things at the right time.”
Blake said Wakefield’s defense tried double-teaming Kriner to slow her amid Tuesday’s rainy conditions, but “she just couldn’t be stopped.”
The performance is sure to bring more recruiting attention to Kriner, who has already garnered interest from William & Mary, West Florida, James Madison and George Mason. Kriner also said that she has discussed the possibility of playing professionally in Italy, as one of Langley’s assistant coaches has connections with an overseas club team.
“Now that the spotlight is on her, I’m really interested to see how she responds,” Blake said. “Kady has a lot of talent, and now that the spotlight is on her, I think she has a chance to show what type of player she can be at the next level.”
Recruit Watch: The latest offers, commitments and signings