Overtime seemed like a forgone conclusion as time ticked away in the Mountain Region girls soccer championship.
A free kick at midfield doesn’t typically lead the game-winning goal. But it did Saturday.
Faith Lutheran’s Hannah Thomas booted the ball all the way to the net, where it bounced off the Palo Verde keeper and right to the foot of Madison Sonerholm, who chipped in the winner with three minutes remaining in regulation and give the Crusaders a 2-1 victory at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex.
“The keeper dropped it and I followed it back in,” Sonerholm said. “You just can’t give up on any play, and since it was like the last two minutes, I really wanted a goal.”
Faith Lutheran (20-2) will face Bishop Gorman (24-0-1) at 6 p.m. Monday at Rancho for the Southern Nevada Championship.
Palo Verde (13-5-3) had possession most of the game and the field felt slanted at times. The Panthers outshot Faith Lutheran 18-8 in the game, including 8-5 in shots on goal. But Palo Verde could not break through goalkeeper Jordan Brown, except for Carlee Giamonna’s penalty kick in the 29th minute to open the scoring.
“I thought Palo played really well today and I thought we were little bit off of what we wanted to do,” Faith Lutheran coach Steve Morrill said. “Sometimes the ball bounces your way, and it bounced our way at the end.”
But the Crusaders woudn’t quit. They scored a quirky goal in the 47th minute when the ball bounced between the Palo Verde defender and keeper and neither decided who was going to take it, So Amelia McManus did. The Faith Lutheran junior booted it away form the keeper, where she collected and deposited it into the empty net.
Eleven minutes later, Palo Verde almost scored on a similar play. Brown came out of the net to field the ball, so Giammona dished to Kassidy Sayles, who fired at what she thought was an empty net. Instead, Crusaders defender Kylie Harris bolted back and bodied the ball out of harm’s way.
“I just saw that the goalie was out of the box, and I was just like, ‘I have to fill her position,’ and then I saw the ball coming and I just had to get any part of my body onto it,” Harris said. “It’s a way I can thank (Brown) for everything that she’s done, and just to do something for her in return is really great.”
The Panthers next play in the state quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Faith Lutheran. Their opponents is not yet known.