Junior defenseman Maddy Reuter stepped up to the ball. It was placed about 30 yards out from the Desert Vista goal mouth after the No. 5-seeded Huskies received a free kick two minutes into the first overtime period Saturday afternoon at Desert Vista High School.
The whistle blew and Reuter sent a lofting pass into Desert Vista’s 18-yard box. It somehow fell to the ground, landing in scrum of players in front of the net. While several players looked to get a foot on it, it was junior Callie Darst who made the crucial play, tapping the ball past Desert Vista goal keeper Amanda Green into the back of the net.
“DV is a great team and any time you play them and get a win it feels good, because they have a great team, a great coach, and they are usually playing at Campo (Verde) every year,” Hamilton coach Eddie Hertsenberg of his team’s 1-0 win. “So, for us anytime we play them is a good match and to beat them on our way to the semi’s feels great.”
From the very beginning it was a defensive battle and it was meant to be. Throughout the season, both teams let up less than 15 goals, Desert Vista allowed 14 and Hamilton allowed nine. They also had the ability to shut teams out, Desert Vista pitched 10 shutouts while the Huskies left a zero on the scoreboard 12 times, including Saturday’s victory over the Thunder.
Both teams were able to execute their defensive strategy with stellar defensive play from their defenders. Isabella Glavin excelled for the Thunder, making key stops in the midfield, while still contributing on the attack in set pieces. Jordyn Schulte was also a key contributor for the Huskies, shutting down Thunder attackers but also playing in support of the midfielders and attackers.
“Coming into the game, that was the plan,” Thunder coach Marvin Hypolite said after his team’s 1-0 loss on Saturday. “Both teams basically kind of equalized each other out, understanding that it was going to be a 1-0 game in terms of the style of play and they were the ones that got it at the end of the day.”
But the story of the game, was the play of the two goal keepers, making critical saves in critical situations, forcing the game into overtime. Several times throughout the night, both Green and Hamilton goalkeeper Asia Hart came up big for their squads, tipping the ball over the crossbar, jumping out of the goal mouth and a crucial moment, or catching the ball midair on a corner kick.
While Hart is still a sophomore, with a bright future ahead of her, Green has been a key piece in the Desert Vista defense over the past two years and her coach Marvin Hypolite recognized that after one of his senior’s last game.
“Over the past two years, she’s been a stalwart for us, she’s been a solid custodian between the uprights, and she has a bright, bright future ahead of her,” Hypolite said.
With their victory, in a tightly contested battle, the No. 5-seeded Huskies set up a match-up with No. 1 overall seed Xavier Prep Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. at Campo Verde. But, the Huskies aren’t done and are hoping to build on a great team win heading into Tuesday night.
“It was a great team win, we’re just going to build on it and stay ready and stay energized,” Hertsenberg said.
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