ROSE HILL — Rose Hill forward Kalyn Pfaff put her hands on her hips in frustration near Buhler's goal in the first half of the Class 4-1A South Central II regional championship on Thursday.
Teammate Miranda Raevsky passed to Pfaff inside in Buhler's goalie box, but Pfaff couldn't finish off the goal.
As the Rockets' top offensive threat, Pfaff was smothered by Buhler's defense anytime she was close to the goal. The header was a rare opportunity for an open shot.
Pfaff more than made up for the missed opportunity, scoring the game's only goals in a 2-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals next week against Maize South.
"They've played us before so they knew they needed to swarm on defense," Pfaff said. "It was frustrating at first but we were able to eventually get past them."
With 13:49 left in the first half, Raevsky found Pfaff in front on the goal again. She fought off the gusty winds by keeping the pass low and threading it between two Buhler defenders. Pfaff kept the shot low too, giving Rose Hill a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
With the wind in their favor in the second half, The Rockets had more luck on offense.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Pfaff chipped in her second goal off another assist from Raevsky.
"She's on 38 goals this season so they're going to cover her," Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat said. "Raevsky did a good job of moving the ball and helping Pfaff exploit some open space."
The Rockets relentlessly attacked in the second half, keeping Buhler on the defensive end with few scoring attempts.
Rose Hill had 13 shots in the second half. Buhler had one.
Despite the offensive push, Rose Hill struggled to get past Buhler goalkeeper Vickie Dukart. The sophomore had seven saves in the second half.
"Last year she played defender for us," Buhler coach Miriam Lane said. "She's an amazing goalkeeper. She's not afraid of anything."
Rose Hill (13-4) defeated Buhler (8-10) earlier in the season 6-1. Treat was nervous his team might not play with as much intensity this time.
"I was worried we might come out a little lax," Treat said. "I told them before the game started that this was the playoffs and the games are going to be closer."
Rose Hill 1 1 — 2 Buhler 0 0 — 0
First half—Rose Hill, Pfaff (Raevsky); Second half— Rose Hill, Pfaff (Raevsky). Shots— Rose Hill 5-13-18; Buhler 2-1-3. Saves— Rose Hill, Harris 1-0; Buhler, Dukart 3-7-10.