Schnuck's third goal charming
Lightning knock off top-ranked Central in state semi
Lake Country Lutheran sophomore Gabrielle Simons caught on quickly. After playing catcher this spring for the Lightning girls softball team, she wasn’t finished, trading her metal cleats for plastic ones.
And why not, joining in the fun with the girls soccer team, which spent much of the year with a 12-player roster getting contributions from anyone and everyone.
On Friday morning at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee, Simons quickly became part of the conversation, feeding senior standout Jamie Schnuck with the game-winning goal as Lake Country Lutheran/University Lake School surprised Saint Mary Central in a WIAA Division 3 semifinal match in overtime, 3-2.
Simons and Schnuck instantly brought tears to the Zephyrs eyes at the 83:08 mark of sudden death.
Once Simons got the ball, it was just a matter of time.
“I just wanted to get past my girl so I could pass it to Jamie,” Simons said. “She’s just phenomenal out there and again today,” Simons said.
It was Simons’ first point of the season for the Lightning (20-2-0).
Schnuck was busy all morning, first tying the game in the 42nd minute. After a flourish near the goal in front of senior keeper Kelly Swofford, the Lightning cleared the ball and Schnuck carried from near midfield, beating Zephyrs goalie Leah Marker.
In the 62nd minute, Saint Mary Central went ahead 2-1 with leading scorer junior Kelly Conn stopping the clock. Sophomore Molly Britt had the assist, but in the 74th minute, once again Schnuck was heard from. She tied the game at 2-2 with her second unassisted goal. Officially she went 3 for 4 in the shots-on-goal department on Friday.
Conn had the first goal off a dead ball when the Lightning were whistled for a high kick in the fourth minute. Lake Country Lutheran was forced to setup a wall just inside the six-yard box on a nearly indefensible play.
The Lightning refused to let the early mishap have an effect.
“We’ve been in the situation before where we’ve been down a goal early in the game, but we never let it affect our play,” Schnuck said. “The second your heads go down is the second your game’s going down, so, if anything, we use it to push us and keep going harder."
Freshman Margaret Tovar, sophomore Ellen Tyler, sophomore Abby Carlson and sophomore Hannah Rezutek had a nose for the ball most of the game. Carlson finished the game with three shots on goal for the winners.
“To be honest, this is surreal,” Lake Country Lutheran head girls soccer coach Jeremy Hedrick said. “As we said all year long, we never expected to be in this position. We had 12 players for most of the season and we’re fortunate to pick a few extra people at the end. With their hearts, determination and will to fight, no matter what the odds or who their playing they have faith in one another.”
The Lighting advanced to Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Championship against The Prairie School with the victory.
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