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A fixture defensively, Kyla Floyd scores first playoff goal for St Charles North. ‘It just made me very happy.’

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Senior midfielder Kyla Floyd was ready to open the goal-scoring floodgates for St. Charles North.

Playing a holding position that concentrates on defense, Floyd felt like he had been missing out as she entered her final postseason. She had never scored a playoff goal for the North Stars.

“Coming out, we had to keep our foot on the gas,” said Floyd, who immediately mentioned she hadn’t scored in the playoffs. “Getting that first one was huge, and it just made me very happy.”

Happy, indeed. Floyd scored a goal Saturday in the 23rd minute as the North Stars earned a 2-1 victory over Wheaton North in the championship game of the Class 3A South Elgin Sectional.

Senior midfielder Megan Hines followed with another goal in the 26th minute for St. Charles North (16-2-5), which hosts a 6:30 p.m. Tuesday supersectional date against Naperville Central (14-5-1).

The 5-foot-9 Floyd was the ideal target on a corner kick from junior forward Kaitlin Glenn. It resulted in Floyd’s 13th goal of the season.

“Whenever it comes to a set piece, we calm down and really value the moment,” Floyd said. “With my size, I’m one of the targets that people usually focus on. I’m very good in the air.

“It was just about getting up and winning the ball over the rest of everyone else.”

St. Charles North's Megan Hines, right, stays ahead of Wheaton North's Grace Kuczaj during the IHSA Class 3A South Elgin Sectional Girls Soccer Final at South Elgin High School in South Elgin, Saturday, May 25, 2024.(Michael Schmidt/For The Aurora Beacon-News)
St. Charles North’s Megan Hines, right, pushes the ball past Wheaton North’s Grace Kuczaj in the Class 3A South Elgin Sectional championship game on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Michael Schmidt / The Beacon-News)

Floyd’s goal also ignited the follow-up strike by Hines.

“Kayla is the most spirited player on the team and we just feed off of her energy,” Hines said. “She keeps the game alive and is so disciplined on offense and defense.

“Especially as a player off the bench, I knew I had to keep the momentum going.”

In soccer parlance, Floyd plays the six as a holding midfielder — a defensive-oriented, two-way player who operates in the space between the back line and the attacking midfielders.

She’s the connective thread of a stout defense that has posted eight shutouts for St. Charles North. And she’s also tasked with building up the attack.

St. Charles North's Kayla Floyd, upper right, wins the header and scores as Wheaton North's Shayne Berner, 21, is too late during the IHSA Class 3A South Elgin Sectional Girls Soccer Final at South Elgin High School in South Elgin, Saturday, May 25, 2024.(Michael Schmidt/For The Aurora Beacon-News)
St. Charles North’s Kayla Floyd, right, wins the header and scores as Wheaton North’s Shayne Berner (21) defends in the Class 3A South Elgin Sectional championship game on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Michael Schmidt / The Beacon-News)

“My favorite part about the position is just feeling like I can see the whole field,” Floyd said. “With my club teams, I’ve played more of an attacking midfielder.

“I like the six more because it’s easier to read the flow and I get more time to decide.”

After learning the subtleties of the position and assimilating the speed and style of varsity play as a freshman, Floyd stepped into a starting role as a sophomore.

She’s become a fixture for the North Stars.

“I think I started out more as a follower,” Floyd said. “I didn’t play a whole lot my freshman year. By the time I was a sophomore, I was given more of a role to learn.

“Now, I’ve taken a leadership role, especially being a captain this year. I’ve focused on making my voice heard.”

Her savvy, cool-under-pressure approach and shot-making skill have sparked the North Stars.

“Kayla is a player who has gotten better every single year, every single game,” St. Charles North coach Brian Harks said. “Her ability to dominate in the air game and in the middle is contagious.

“Her presence offensively and defensively has been spectacular.”

St. Charles North players from left, Laney Stark, Megan Hines and Ryan Spaulding celebrate Hines' goal during the IHSA Class 3A South Elgin Sectional Girls Soccer Final at South Elgin High School in South Elgin, Saturday, May 25, 2024.(Michael Schmidt/For The Aurora Beacon-News) ABN-L-GSO-SOELG-SECT-0526
St. Charles North’s Laney Stark, Megan Hines and Ryan Spaulding, from left, celebrate Hines’ goal against Wheaton North in the Class 3A South Elgin Sectional championship game on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Michael Schmidt / The Beacon-News)

Floyd took up the game as a young kid who gladly followed in the path of her older brother, Ryan.

“Ryan inspired me to start playing and I just took it from there, working on my own,” Floyd said. “I’ve been competitive my whole life. That competitive nature just runs in my family.

“I just go with that.”

After deciding to pursue academics in college, Floyd has reached the closing stage of her soccer career. The supersectional will be her final home game.

“I think every single group I’ve been a part of has been different, and I’ve enjoyed every single teammate,” Floyd said. “We just lean on each other.”

Patrick Z. McGavin is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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Patrick Z. McGavin , 2024-05-26 06:04:17

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