Bishop Carroll’s Shanae Vasquez claims she has never scored a goal with her eyes open.
When a pass came her way from 15 yards out with 5:52 left to play Tuesday in the Class 5A girls soccer quarterfinals against Andover, Vasquez shut her eyes and shot. In this case her strategy worked, and the shot narrowly rolled past Andover goalkeeper Victoria Haas, Vasquez’s club soccer teammate.
“I looked at (Haas) and I realized I was screaming, and I was like ‘I’m a jerkwad,’ ” Vasquez said, feeling a bit guilty for celebrating a goal on her offseason teammate. “But wow, I just scored.”
“It kind of just looked like we were going in slow motion, taking nothing away from (Andover). It just looked slow motion until those last five minutes.”
The goal would ultimately send the Eagles past Andover 1-0, and to the state semifinals in Topeka this weekend, but not before some late efforts by the Trojans nearly sent the game into overtime. Carroll spent nearly the entire last five minutes on its heels, as Andover’s offense pushed forward.
“We had been on our front foot for the better part of the game,” Carroll coach Greg Rauch said. “Then all of a sudden, they realized, ‘Wait a minute. All we have to do is defend for five minutes.’ Andover became the aggressor and we were the defender, and I think we were caught a little bit off-guard to be honest. It was not very graceful, to be certain.”
With just under a minute to play, the only thing that stood between Andover’s Dion Hallmark and overtime was Carroll freshman goalkeeper Jami Richenberger.
As Hallmark broke past the Eagles’ last line of defense, Richenberger charged directly toward Hallmark. She deflected Hallmark’s point-blank shot back 20 yards the other way, and Rauch’s team breathed a sigh of relief as the game clock melted to zero. It was the second straight game where a save by Richenberger sealed a victory for her team.
“The last thing you want to do is shift the momentum going into overtime or anything like that,” Rauch said. “For a freshman keeper to step up like that was exceptional.”
Carroll (18-1) will now Hays—which comes off a double-overtime 2-1 victory over Kapaun on Tuesday — in the 5A semifinals Friday. Andover (13-5-1) finishes what was supposed to be a rebuilding season under first-year coach Chris Lemons.
“They worked, listened and played together, and became a true team,” Lemons said. “For me, as a coach, I can’t be more proud of what they did to become a team, even more than the accomplishments and the wins.”
Second half – Carroll, Vasquez (Walden). Shots – Andover 4-1—5, Carroll 5-11—16. Saves – Andover, Haas 1-5—6; Carroll, Richenberger 2-2—4.