The Sacred Heart Gremlins got seven second-half goals Monday night and raced past the Stover Lady Bulldogs 9-0.
The victory moves the Gremlins into the Class 1, District 10 championship game on Wednesday night against the St. Paul Lutheran Lady Saints.
“We looked better tonight than we had in a while,” said Sacred Heart coach Travis Cairer. “We’ve struggled with actually making good decisions, struggled with our possession a little bit, tried to force it a little too much. Tonight we really worked the ball the way we wanted to, possessed the ball and really made some good decisions, and it put us in front of some good opportunities.”
Sacred Heart (7-12) started the attack early, immediately putting pressure on Stover goalkeeper Elizabeth Kreisel. Kreisel stopped a pair of early shots by Erika Beykirch, but
Johannah Hohne put the Gremlins in front 1-0 about 10 minutes into the game with a shot directly in front of the goal.
The Stover defense continued to face a strong attack by the Gremlins, but turned away multiple surges. The Lady Bulldogs had a hard time pushing the ball and getting much of an offensive attack, however.
“We just couldn’t get up the field,” said Stover coach Chris Witte.
Sacred Heart made it 2-0 in the first half’s final minutes when Hohne sent a crossing pass from the right to Beykirch in the middle. Beykirch settled the ball and booted it into the net.
The Gremlins made adjustments at halftime, and they paid off quickly in the second half.
Devin Wadley got a pair of goals, the first on a penalty kick and the second from right in front of the goal to make it 4-0.
Gabbi Ebers made it 5-0 four minutes later when she broke through the Stover defense and rolled a shot into the right corner of the goal.
“We tried to play a little too far straight forward in the first half, and really only got two goals in the first half. We talked at halftime, and figured out that offsides trap they were running, and started dribbling through, and then playing some balls more across, and that really kind of opened it up a little bit,” said Cairer.
Claire Fischer pushed the lead to 6-0 at the midway point of the half, punching home a right-footed shot. The Gremlins continued to pass the ball well, wearing down an undermanned Stover team.
“They’re a fundamental team. They play well. They are quick, and that’s what hurt us, especially with just 12 girls to put on the field. It makes it difficult. We played hard, but kind of let up toward the end,” Witte said.
Sacred Heart finished the game with a flurry of goals in the game’s final five minutes.
Fischer had one score, Kaitlyn Sunnarborg had another, and Erin Holt tallied the last goal to set the final margin.
“We haven’t really scored that much this year. We’re pretty low numbers goal-wise, but we really had some girls who were ready to put a couple on the board tonight, and finally did,” said Cairer.
The Gremlins will now go in search of their first district title since beginning girls soccer.
“As far as I know, they have never won one, so hopefully we can pull one off on Wednesday. That would be good,” Cairer said.