MURRAY -- She'll credit her father, David. She'll credit her coach, Michael Boone, or her travel team skipper (and Murray coach), Shauna Traylor. She'll credit her backline defense. She'll credit the first goalie she truly followed in former Lady Marshal Savana Smothers.
Anyone but herself.
Tuesday night at France Field in Murray, however, Marshall County's Carlen Whirley picked up her 27th career shutout at keeper in a 7-0 Second District win over the Lady Tigers.
It's quite the accomplishment, considering the goalie she followed -- Allie Fiske -- was the co-owner of the school's career shutouts record (24).
With eight regular-season games remaining in her high-school career (and a potential regional title to chase), Whirley can bury any chance at someone coming close to her accolade in the future.
"The backline is my rock, and they're the reason that I can say that I own this record," Whirley said after Tuesday's win. "Even though I can definitely say it's not just me, it's Loralei Samson, Sofia Bayer, Whitley Watwood. Audrey Noles has stepped in there. Even freshman Johnna Walker has stepped in there to really help us. They do such an amazing job. I can't thank them enough for what they've done, and how much they've helped me. Literally saved goals for me."
Physically, Whirley has been imposing for the last three years. She's 5-8, agile and deft at saving shots at either side.
But she's also technically sound and extremely good at reading attackers -- making her the complete package as a defender.
"I feel like, just growing up and especially my father being my coach, it's technique, technique, technique," she added. "It's been drilled into my head. Every single thing that I do. I would like to say that I'm very good at reading people, and especially on shots that are far out.
"But I know that I am tall. I can cover the majority of the goal when I dive. And being able to read and know when to make that dive gives me a really good advantage to covering the majority the goal and block a lot of the shots that I do."
As the coach of Murray, Traylor has been on the tough end of some of those blocks -- particularly on Tuesday, when Whirley added two more saves to her resume.
But as her travel coach of the past two years, Traylor can put some of that district rivalry to the side. She knows Whirley is outstanding.
"You can't ask for a better person, and she's just someone that works very hard," Traylor said. "The family is so dedicated and wants her to get better. She's the best goalkeeper in this area in a long time. McCracken's goalkeeper that went to Murray State (KK Telfair) was really good, but Carlen is just special.
"I love watching her. Just how calm she is. Calm personality. Doesn't get worked up. And just seeing her grow and mature over the years. In club when we get to go play very tough competition, tougher than this region obviously ... and this region is really tough ... some of the saves she makes. She's phenomenal.
"I don't love playing against her, but I love having her on our (travel) team."
MARSHALL COUNTY 7, MURRAY 0
First Half -- 10' MAR Kallen Fuller (Carmen Gunn assists), 13' MAR Carmen Gunn (Kallen Fuller assists), 14' Carmen Gunn (unassisted), 27' Loralei Samson (unassisted), 38' MAR Hope Howard.
Second Half -- 44' MAR Tori Ford (unassisted), 50' Hope Howard (Mia Teague assists)
Shots: MUR 2, MAR 23. Saves: MUR Angela Gierhart 14, MAR Carlen Whirley 2. Corners: MUR 1, MAR 2.
MAR 8-2-2 (3-1), MUR 6-5 (1-4)
Marshals stun Murray in sudden death PK
In what ended up being a ridiculous slugfest on Tuesday at France Field, Marshall County edged Murray ever so slightly -- 0-0 (4-3) in sudden death penalty kicks -- to stay undefeated in First Region play and maintain a regular-season stranglehold on the Second District.
Just like the last time these two teams met, a 2-1 double-overtime win for the Marshals on Aug. 27, it came down to the final moments of execution and poise.
In this bout, it was Marshall County keeper Ben Burkeen and junior midfielder Tyler Treas finding the late magic.
Burkeen managed three saves in penalty kicks to stave off the feisty Tigers, while Treas coolly buried his sudden death penalty blast past Murray's Bradley Dawson -- who had already managed 11 saves in regulation and both overtimes to keep his team in contention.
"I just walked up there, and in my head, I was going right the whole time," Treas said. "But when he was already diving, I switched last second, and hit it down the middle.
"And that's it."
"We're kind of even on skill level, for the most part," Burkeen added. "Really, it's just mentality with a battle against Murray."
Both Murray and Marshall had ample chances in the first 90 minutes to generate offense. However, credit is due to both defenses. In the first 20 minutes of the match, each team had only managed two shots on frame.
By halftime, the Marshals were outshooting the Tigers 5-4, as neither squad could find much effective possession.
MARSHALL COUNTY 0 (4), MURRAY 0 (3)
First Half -- none.
Second Half -- none.
First OT -- none.
Second OT -- none.
PK --MUR XOOXOX (Trevor Harrison, Micheal Micheal, Trey Boggess), MAR OOO-XO (Jarrett Wiles, Collin Riley, Caleb Nicholls, Tyler Treas)
X-denotes save, O-denotes make, (-)-denotes miss.
Shots: MUR 5, MAR 13. Saves: MUR Bradley Dawson 11 (1 in PK), MAR Ben Burkeen 2 (3 in PK). Corners: MUR 2, MAR 3.
MUR 5-4 (2-2); MAR 10-2-1 (4-0)