Playing with 1-0 deficits hasn’t fazed the Marquette High girls soccer team.
The Explorers on Friday faced the same disadvantage for the second consecutive time and managed to rally again, this time with a 2-1 victory in two overtimes over the Gibault Hawks that gave them the championship of the Class 1A Columbia Sectional.
Marquette sophomore Elissa Senno scored the equalizer from sophomore Annabelle Copeland at 71 minutes, 1 second, then got what proved to be the game-winner from junior Lauren Schmickley at 92:39 on a cross from junior Adriana Schindler.
Schmickley, unmarked in the box, hit a one-timer between Gibault sophomore keeper Kelly Dooley and the left post, and the Explorers’ defense did the rest.
“I’m even surprised it went in like that,” Schmickley said. “I was really nervous. I’m glad it went in, though. I got a great feed from Adriana. I just kind of shot it.
“This is so much relief because I really want to go to the state finals so bad. I’m just glad we came back. They’re a tough team and they’re really physical.”
It was indeed a physical contest, with hard fouls being handed out by both teams. The Hawks, already shuffling players around on defense, lost junior defender Robyn Lindsey in the 68th minute. Lindsey was attended to on the field for several minutes before slowing being escorted to the sidelines. She did not return.
Coincidentally or not, the Explorers began applying steady pressure with Lindsey out of the action, leaving Gibault coach Matt Reeb to wonder what might have been without the injury.
“It was extremely physical,” Reeb said. “You could kind of anticipate that, being a sectional championship. I don’t know ... It hurt a little bit that we lost Robyn right before the goal. I moved a lot of pieces back defensively just to try to close it out. We were just eight minutes shy of it. I’m so proud of the way the girls fought. They wanted this one.”
Marquette (15-5-3) will play Rochester (23-6) at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Springfield Super-Sectional at University of Illinois Springfield. The Rockets, who beat Williamsville 4-1 on Friday to win the Quincy Notre Dame Sectional, defeated Marquette 2-1 in two overtimes in the super-sectional last year, getting the winning goal with 2.2 seconds to play.
“If we play a little slow like we did here, we won’t be able to come back against that team,” Explorers coach Steve Mitchell said.
Gibault finished 8-10.
Marquette controlled the early stages of the game, getting three corners kicks in the first eight minutes. But it was the Hawks who stuck first when junior Maddie O’Neill raced up the right side and sent a long pass into the top of the box that was settled by junior Abby Hasenstab.
Hasenstab’s first shot was deflected by oncoming Marquette freshman goalie Lauren Fischer, but Hasenstab recovered and put another shot, much weaker this time, on frame. The ball gently caromed off the right post and crossed the goal line to put the Hawks up 1-0 at 21:29.
“It was big,” Reeb said. “We should have been up 2-0. We were breaking in on goal and Abby Phelps missed one. You couldn’t ask for much more with one of our best players going in on goal. If we would have gone up 2-0, I like our chances. But things happen. We couldn’t quite hang defensively at the very end when we were trying to pack numbers back.”
Phelps’ shot from the left wing hit the crossbar at 28:40.
Marquette’s tying goal came after a scrum in the box. With at least six players in striking range of the ball, Senno slipped it pass Dooley.
“We were doing everything but putting it in the net,” Mitchell said. “We just started pressing four forwards, three forwards to try to confuse them. Four mids, three mids, three backs. Finally, we got a goal. Once we got the goal, we stopped playing nervous. We were playing nervous. We scored the goal and then we started moving the ball around.”
The Explorers’ final goal was more classic than their first, with Schmickley capitalizing on the Hawks’ defense that was out of position.
“Too much room,” Reeb said.
Mitchell complimented Schmickley.
“I don’t know how many other kids can touch the ball (like that),” he said. “That was a beautiful one-timer. You don’t see that in the pros. Not many keepers are saving that.”
The Hawks will returns 18 players next season, but that was little consolation to Reeb as the Explorers celebrated another sectional title.
“This one hurts because we had the same team, basically, that experienced the double-overtime loss two years ago to this team in the sectional championship,” Reeb said. “They remember it.”