Manchester Valley and Westminster were less than two minutes away from needing penalty kicks to decide Wednesday’s Class 3A East Region 1 quarterfinal girls soccer game.
The Owls had other plans, however.
Emily Davis set up to take a free kick from about 25 yards away, knowing she needed to drill the ball low so one of her teammates could get an easier touch on it. Sure enough, Elsa Schoberg finished the shot, and the Owls erupted from the bench to swarm their teammates on the field.
Westminster defeated the Mavericks 2-1, snapping a six-game losing streak, and will face top-seeded Marriotts Ridge in the next round.
“It’s been a long season, and we’ve had our ups and downs,” said Schoberg, a junior. “I think this game, we really knew the other team and we knew we tied them 0-0 last time. We really wanted to come out strong and give it our all.”
The Mavericks came out firing early in the game, and had a few close scoring chances as well. Junior defender Morgan Kresslein took a feed from sophomore midfielder Taylor Dadds, but shot too high over the goal. Senior Kenzie D’Anthony was next, and she sent a low shot toward the goal, but it was picked up by Westminster goalie Jeanna Whetzel.
Senior defender Jenna Hollingshead tapped the ball into the back of the net off a free kick from Dadds to give Man Valley a 1-0 lead with less than six minutes left in the first half.
Westminster (5-9-1) tied it up with 29:13 left in the second half when senior midfielder Faith Chmielewski volleyed a shot in off a corner kick.
“So much momentum came off of that play,” Davis said. “We’ve been trying to find back post shots the entire season and throughout the season they were just right off the crossbar, a little bit wide, or the goalkeeper made a really great save. Faith did a great job finishing that and just everything followed.
“It really brings up the team’s confidence especially after the season we’ve had.”
MV freshman midfielder Casey Meredith took a shot from the left side that hit the crossbar and popped over the goal with 2:26 left in the first overtime period. Goalie Sydney Resau came out to challenge Owls junior midfielder Lauren Saltz 30 seconds into the second OT period, but her shot missed the goal by a few inches.
D’Anthony, a Mavericks midfielder, carried the ball on a brief breakaway and took a shot, but the ball was stopped by Owls goalie Sydney Hetrick with 2:14 left to go.
Resau made seven saves for the Mavericks (6-7-2).
“Dannielle [Midkiff] has always done a good job with Westminster, so we knew going into it that it would be a battle,” Mavericks first-year coach Hogan Allen said. “Most of these girls play travel or club soccer together or against each other anyway so it doesn’t take a lot to get either team riled up to play each other so its more just rolled out at this point in the season and the ball bounces where it bounces.”
The Owls hadn’t won since Sept. 26 prior to Wednesday’s rematch against Man Valley, a scoreless tie two days before, and Midkiff said this win gave the team the momentum they needed.
“We had these capabilities in us the entire season, but we just couldn’t put it together,” she said. “Luck wasn’t on our side, and I think we were finally able to achieve what we were capable of.”