GODDARD, Kan.—For 78 minutes, Goddard’s Makenzie Klaasen tried to work the ball up the sideline. She tried to find that perfect angle on the goalkeeper, that sweet spot between the keeper and the post. She got a few shots off, but none of them found anything but either the goalie’s hands or the side of the net.
With just over one minute to play in the scoreless game against Salina Central, Klaasen found herself with the ball just past midfield and she streaked up the sideline for the net.
With a defender covering her, she got a right foot on the ball and found that sweet spot. Klaasen kicked, the keeper’s fingers barely grazed the ball and it found the back of the net for the 1-0 win.
“It was exciting,” said Klaasen. “We went to the ball hard today, and it helped us win.”
All season, Goddard head coach Ryan Rooney had told his players to be tougher and work harder than the Lady Lions’ opponents. He had told his players to finish games.
“Our defense did exactly what they were supposed to do today” said Rooney. “Salina Central has a lot of great attacking players and to shut them out was huge for us.”
It was Goddard’s first shutout of the season.
Salina Central had its opportunities to break the shutout, though. Early in the first half, Central had a shot on back-to-back possessions, but Goddard’s staunch defense held and didn’t allow anything.
The Lady Lions answered with one of their few shots on the day, but couldn’t convert. It was a sloppy first half for both sides, as neither team could find a groove.
With about 17 minutes left in the first half, Salina Central’s Taylor Lummus took a shot from quarter-field, had a good look, but the ball sailed over the cross bar. Goodard keeper Michaela Moore didn’t even leap for it.
Then early in the second half, the Lady Mustangs got another good, albeit challenging look at the goal. Courtney Casey lofted one up for Casey Leister in hopes Leister would put a head on it and knock it in. She put a head on it, but just barely timed it wrong and the ball went off the back of her head and rolled out of bounds.
“We did a good job possessing the ball today,” said Rooney. “This was the best possession game we’ve played all year.”