For the second time this season, the Triad Knights and Waterloo Bulldogs walked out of a stadium Tuesday still wondering who the better girls soccer team was after battling 90 minutes without a goal being scored.
Waterloo sophomore goalie Bailey Bosler turned away numerous Triad scoring chances while the Knights’ goaltending tandem of Skye Clark and Gabby Kayser combined to hold Waterloo in check as the Mississippi Valley Conference powers battled to a scoreless tie before a large crowd at Waterloo High School.
A full 35 days after settling for a scoreless tie April 5 at Triad, the Knights (12-4-3) and Bulldogs (15-3-3) went end-to-end for 90 minutes once again in a game that was full of scoring chances, good defense and spirited and clean play by both teams.
But on this night the only thing that was settled was Waterloo clinching at least a share of its first MVC girls soccer title and Triad moving ever so close to at least a share of a 17th straight crown.
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“I’m sure people will see that Triad and Waterloo played two halves and 10 minutes of overtime and think it was a dull game. It was anything but dull,” Waterloo coach Chad Holden said. “I thought both teams played very well and left it all on the field for 90 minutes. It was a good, cleanly played game by both teams.”
Bosler saves the day
It was also a history-making Tuesday for Waterloo, which completes MVC play at 8-0-2. With a girls soccer program since 2000, the Bulldogs got brilliant play in goal from Bosler, who made at least five saves against a Triad team which put the pressure on early and maintained it for much of the night.
“I couldn’t have done this without my team. They were with me all the way tonight and they all played great,” Bosler said. “I’m just so happy for my teammates, especially the seniors who have been here and worked so hard for this.”
While Waterloo was celebrating a tie and clinching at least a co-conference championship, Triad moved a win away from continuing its reign as MVC championship. The league winners each year since 1999, Triad had the better of the scoring opportunities.
Triad needs a win
Freshman Molly Suess barely missed twice from right in front of the net, while Katie Rogers, Maddie Keller, Sydney Beach and Meaghan Smith all had good chances in the final 15 minutes – including overtime – to put in a goal.
But it wasn’t meant to be. Now 7-0-2 in the league, the Knights need a win over Highland on Thursday to tie for the championship. The Knights defeated Highland 8-0 earlier this season.
“We had chances that we just couldn’t finish tonight,” Knights coach Matt Bettlach said. “I thought we played well and I thought we gave a great effort. Some nights the shots just don’t go in. Their goalie made some great saves and I thought our goalies played well, too.
“I think anytime you have too very good soccer teams like tonight, it’s going to be a very well-played game and it was – by both teams.”
Senior forward Erika Lloyd and Sydney Luedeman had the best scoring chances of the night for Waterloo. Luedeman was stopped when Kayser, who took over in goal in the second half, came way out of the net and outran the Bulldogs player to the ball before she could get a shot off.
An emotional night
Minutes after the game, Holden met with his team on the far end of the field.
“I told them how proud I was of their effort. Would it have been nice to win tonight and win the MVC title outright? Sure it would,” Holden said. “But there were more than a few tears tonight from some of the girls. I know this means a lot to them because they’ve worked so hard.”