Cary-Grove girls soccer started the season slow, with a 1-2-2 record after the first five games. Then the Trojans rattled off 12 consecutive wins to reach an IHSA Class 3A sectional title game.
Senior forward Kelly Stayart led C-G with 15 goals and 10 assists along the way. She and her sister, freshman Jenna Stayart, teamed up to score a combined 29 goals during the season.
C-G finished 13-3-2 and 7-1 in the Fox Valley Conference. The Trojans lost an epic clash against eventual state champion Barrington in the sectional title, which needed a penalty kick shootout to decide a winner.
For her performance during the season, Kelly Stayart was named the 2018 Northwest Herald Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She will attend the University of Missouri in the fall and plans on studying business.
Stayart recently spoke with the Northwest Herald about playing with her younger sister on varsity, pre-game rituals and favorite movies.
How did you first start playing soccer?
Stayart: I started playing when I was 3. I lived in California at the time. Then I moved here and I was playing rec. Then I started playing travel when I was 8. Sports are just really big in my family and soccer is something my mom decided to put me in.
When you look back on the season, what was the most memorable game?
Stayart: Other than the Barrington game and losing to them in PKs, I think the Crystal Lake South game, which was senior night and it’s always really exciting. It was stressful and nerve-wracking to go into overtime with them, but getting the win there [2-1 in overtime] was exciting.
Your sister Jenna was a freshman on the team this year. What was it like playing with her?
Stayart: It was super cool because we’ve never been able to play together, we’re three years apart. Plus we play pretty much the same position, so we got to play next to each other and go through the season together.
Who was your funniest teammate?
Stayart: We were all really funny and cracking jokes all the time. I would say [sophomore forward] Kelli Ives was definitely the funniest person because she’s so quiet, but then she’ll say something super random that would make everyone laugh.
Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Stayart: Not really. Before every game I was always playing the music. One thing we always did was play “Bring Em Out” by T.I. That was our song that, before every game, it had to come on at some point.
Who is your biggest hero?
Stayart: My mom [Mary Stayart]. She’s always supported me with everything I’ve done and especially this soccer season and my senior year. She’s really made a huge impact and has been to everything possible.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Stayart: Not really. I can make a three-leaf clover with my tongue. So I guess that’s kind of cool.
Do you have any nicknames?
Stayart: I’ve always gone by Kels since I started playing soccer. And a lot of people call me K-Stay.
What’s your favorite class in school?
Stayart: Virtual Enterprises International, which was my business class. It’s one of the honors business classes. I was on the business competition team that went to New York.
What is the coolest place you’ve ever visited?
Stayart: Riviera Maya, Mexico. I love the beach.
What are three of your favorite movies?
Stayart: “The Lion King,” “Moana,” and “Trolls.”
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three things would you bring with you?
Stayart: My phone. I would need a friend to keep me company. And chapstick, for sure. I always have chapstick.