Kapaun seniors crack Carroll in last shot
Tears were shed as the final whistle blew.
Hugs, screams and jumps all celebrated two goals in a 2-1 Kapaun victory against Carroll. The Golden Eagles have had Kapaun's number in girls high school soccer in recent history.
The Crusader seniors beat Carroll as freshmen but haven't since, so forward Sierra Fury said Thursday night's win was everything for her and the rest of the 12th-graders.
"We were all just so overcome with emotion," she said.
Coach Anthony Cantele was one of the most popular targets for hugs after the game. He said this win, at this point in the season, is important, particularly for the seniors.
"They know this very well could be their last chance to beat Carroll," he said. "Having experienced so many losses to them in close games, going back to their freshman year, it's really something special."
Freshman Hadlie Lowe was all over the pitch. She scored the game's first goal midway through the first half after the ball rattled around the 18-yard box.
The ball fell to her feet, and she slotted it to the bottom right corner of the net.
Lowe normally doesn't even start. She was in relief of Emily Shepherd, who was out with an injury.
"I'm just feeling proud of myself," Lowe said. "Being a freshman, it's hard to come out and show what I have without being nervous. Tonight I had to step up, start and take the lead."
Lowe assisted on the game-winner. She dribbled the ball down the right sideline and sent the ball into the box as her defender closed.
She was knocked to the turf, looked up and saw Emily Michaelis get her right foot to it and tap it in. It was a perfect cross that Lowe never saw.
"I just tried to get something on the shot, and then I looked at her and thought she might have been dead," Michaelis joked.
With two handfuls of seniors on the roster, that seemed the most likely source of production. Instead, a freshman finished with a goal and an assist.
Fury said that is a sign that the Crusaders are a dangerously versatile group.
"We don't play seniors only or 'Give it to the seniors,' " she said. "We have to build up the team as we go. It's never me, me, me. Anyone and everyone will score."
Kapaun hasn't lost since April 12, a 1-0 defeat to Northwest. Since then, the Crusaders have gone unbeaten against St. Thomas Aquinas, a 16-time state champion; Heights, Washburn Rural and now Carroll.
The Crusaders have outscored opponents 22-3 since that loss, and with that momentum, Cantele said Thursday was more than just a statement win.
"This is the biggest game of the year," Cantele said. "We haven't beaten Carroll in two years, and we've had some frustrating matchups since then, so it feels good for that reason. It's good to get one against them."