BY WILL WILLEMS
CRAWFORDSVILLE — Tuesday night’s sectional quarterfinals between the Western Boone and Crawfordsville’s girls soccer teams seemed destined to go to extra time.
With the clock winding down in regulation, the two teams were tied 1-1 and neither team had that serious of a scoring threat in final 20 minutes. But in a blink of an eye, that all changed.
The Stars’ Lena Goerke scored from 20 yards out off a corner kick with 36 seconds remaining, giving Western Boone a thrilling 2-1 over the Athenians.
“They stepped up and did the job,” Western Boone head coach Brett Craig said. “They stayed through and kept going until the final whistle and got the job done before the game was over.”
The whole sequence started with a near goal by Madi Jones.
The freshman got free and rifled a shot toward the goal that was just tipped wide by Crawfordsville goalkeeper Oliva Cody for a corner kick.
Audrey Dugan’s first kick was headed back out of bounds for another corner kick. Dugan’s second attempt took a couple of bounces to a wide open Goerke at the top of the box. The German foreign exchange student blasted home a shot through traffic for the game winner.
“We didn’t do anything different than our other corners,” Craig said. “This time we just were able to get a foot on one toward the goal. That is all it was.”
Craig said that they have been talking to the girls all season long about playing to the final whistle.
That message paid off on Tuesday, keeping their season alive.
“They have been that day since day one,” Craig said. “They are going to fight to the final whistle and play the entire game. I have never had any doubts on that. I have never had to yell at them to hustle, or run, or stay up. They do that all on their own.”
Western Boone controlled most of the first half of the game, and were finally awarded with a goal in the 23rd minute. Jones was able to get loose in the middle of the box, and slotted home a goal with a 17:01 left in the opening half.
That goal held up into the second half, but Crawfordsville wouldn’t go down without a fight.
The Athenians scored just four minutes into the second half on a goal by Reilly Dunham. It was the first goal the Athenians had scored against the Stars in more than 120 minutes of action.
The two teams played on Sept. 30, with the Stars winning 5-0.
“Their pressure was different today,” Craig said. “We play a possession game and they ran a lot more at us and put more pressure on, especially in the second half. After they got the goal, they kind of sat back and played for overtime and tried to push us out.”
Western Boone had a couple of long range shots to take the lead during the second half, but they were easily gobbled up by Cody.
The Athenians had a strong shot with 6:00 remaining, but Star goalie Camryn Savage made the save. Crawfordsville nearly broke through for a breakaway about a minute later, but were called for offsides.
Then, when the Stars had their opportunity a few minutes later, they capitalized.
Next up for the Stars is a match-up with Southmont in the second game on Thursday night. The Mounties topped North Montgomery 2-0.
Western Boone and Southmont has matched up twice this season, with the Stars winning 4-0 on Aug. 20 and 2-0 on Sept. 26.
Craig said the Stars have to be ready for teams to pressure them more.
“We have to work on quicker passes,” Craig said. “If they are going to put more pressure on us, we are going to have to get rid of the ball quicker. It is always good to that first sectional game out of the way. We had a couple of practices at Grand Park to get used to the turf and had the game today, so now we are more used to the speed.”
THE STARS’ MADI JONES jumps to win a ball in the second half on Tuesday evening.
Photos by Will Willems | The Lebanon Reporter
WESTERN BOONE’S LENA GOERKE smiles and celebrates after scoring with 36 seconds left to send the Stars into the sectional semifinal.