Incarnate Word sophomore forward Liv Layton can tell when the Red Knights are at their best.
All she has to do is listen.
“When things are going well, you can just hear it,” Layton said. “Everybody is talking. We're all just working so well together with each other when everyone is talking. You don't really even need to see it, you can just hear it.”
Like the hum of a well-oiled engine, it's easy to hear when the Red Knights are on their game.
And Layton has been on her game of late.
Incarnate Word's offensive spark plug is usually all over the pitch, firing her team up.
“She's been through all of this before, as just a freshman, when she played a role on a team that went to state,” IWA coach Beth Sims said. “I think girls on this team look to her. She knows what her role is.”
After tallying 10 goals and seven assists as a freshman in helping the team to state, Layton has already amassed 15 goals and eight assists to lead the Red Knights (15-3-1, No. 2 in the STLhighschoolsports.com small-schools rankings) as they take aim at a return final four trip.
Layton is no stranger to scoring big goals, either. She tallied a pair on May 1 in the Red Knights' 3-2 win over conference foe and then top-ranked large school, St. Joseph's.
Sims said that, much as she was in the win over the Angels, Layton has proven to be the ring leader in a wide-spread effort that has led to team success.
“We talk about it before every game,” Sims said. “If we are going to be successful, it is going to take everyone.”
The Red Knights lost 10 players to graduation, but Layton has helped the team maintain its high level of play.
“There are a lot of girls of different ages here and, the big thing, is that we've all worked hard to come together, like sisters,” Layton said. “We all play important roles and I think I have grown into a role (as a leader). We all just work so well together because we all have one thing in mind – winning.”
Sims said that Layton is the consummate leader.
"She has to remember that there are always girls looking up to her, watching what she does," Sims said. "She's very emotional when she plays. I try to tell her that, if in a game she gets frustrated, girls can see it on her face. Not to put pressure on her, but girls trust her in how she feels."