Just as she had done for four years at Mountain Home High School, goalkeeper Kira Bailey made save after save for the East squad Wednesday night in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association’s All-Star games in Conway.
Bailey — a four-year starter in goal for the Lady Bombers — tended goal for 53 minutes in the East’s 2-0 loss to the West team.
“It felt amazing,” Bailey said of her selection. “It lets me know I’m one of the best in the state, and it lets me know all the hard work I put into this has paid off.”
The West was loaded with talent and controlled most of the game. Bailey made nine saves, however, keeping the score from getting out of hand
“They were on our half most of the time,” she said. “I think we only had like four or five actual scoring opportunities. They were on our half the rest of the game.”
Lady Bombers head coach Jeff Obert was in attendance to watch Bailey.
“Their front three or four they were pushing up were extremely talented,” Obert said of the strong West team. “They were physical, and they just had a lot of skill up top for them. The East had problems putting together opportunities in front of the other team’s goal. When you look at the schools on that (West) roster, there were some pretty good ones represented.”
Bailey was happy with her performance, allowing just one goal in her time in net.
“I was really happy except for that one goal,” she said. “The first goal was scored on the other keeper, but the one goal I let by, I felt like I should have had it. One of our defenders crossed the goal, and two West girls were wide open. That was the only part I was disappointed about. The rest, though, I felt like I played phenomenal.”
Bailey started the game, played 20 minutes, sat 20 minutes, then started the second half and played all but the last seven minutes of the match.
“They had a lot of on-target shots,” Obert said. “It also helped the West that they had a stout keeping crew as well. There was really only one shot the East made that on most goalkeepers, it would have gone in.”
Obert felt Bailey’s performance at the exhibition was just as strong as her career at Mountain Home.
“It’s unfortunate to be on the losing side, but as far as the quality of play she had for that game, to go out and play like she did, was really good for her as a player,” he said. “She showed all year she could play up to a level of competition. She does a good job of stopping very good shots and frustrating the other team’s players.”