I’m back with a game summary and video highlights of the Quarterfinal match between Catholic and Timberland. As you now know, Timberland avenged their loss to Catholic in last year’s Quarterfinal, sending them through to the State Final Four while ending Catholic’s streak. The difference this year was freshman Abbie Albietz (#18) who scored the first two goals for the Wolves and roamed the field throughout. Listed as a forward, she in did fact begin on the wing but after her 2nd goal four minutes into the 2nd half put Timberland up 2-1 she moved to the back line where she paired with Jamie Buehrle to blunt most of Catholic’s offensive efforts for the remainder of the match.
Her first goal was assisted by Jamie Moniaci who sent a ball to her left that Abbie ran onto and in full stride got a shot off with the outside of her right foot. The ball went into the top left hand corner of the net while Anne Prenger was closing in on her and ended up tumbling through the air following the attempted block. Her 2nd goal was scored on a scramble in the box following a throw-in that the Wolves got deep in Catholic territory. Abbie pounced on a loose ball and slotted it just past a diving Christina Ogden who somehow spied the ball through the bodies crowded in front of her but couldn’t quite get there to stop it. The two goals were scored in an 8 minute span, the first in the 37th min and the second four minutes into the second half, first tying the match and then sending the Wolves to their first lead of the game.
The game winning goal came minutes after Catholic had tied the match 2-2 against the flow of play, initially stunning Timberland. Jamie Moniaci, sophomore midfielder, sent a direct kick from the center circle into the box. Emily Bell ran onto it forcing Christina to make an aggresive move to the ball. Christina got her hands on the ball but was unable to push it out and it fell to Chrissy Frkovic who calmly slotted it into the empty net. The goal came in the final minutes of the game and just two minutes after Catholic had tied the match on Jordan Swift’s goal in the 77th minute.
The match was played at the 179 Soccer Park in Jefferson City which if you haven’t been there is located in a small valley. With the sun shining down, the flag was undisturbed by a breeze as the anthem was played preceeding the game. It was in these very warm conditions that the Catholic Lady Irish started play against these soon to be familiar opponents. As I scanned the benches, it appeared that Catholic was already at a disadvantage as there were only five substitutes in uniform while Timberland had seven. From the beginning, Timberland seemed a team on a mission and in the early minutes of the match earned two corner kicks and several throw-ins that reached into the Catholic box, leading to two early shots on goal. Catholic fended off these early forays but it was a full ten minutes before they were able to truly get their feet underneath them and begin to fight back. The first punch came when Alicia Tonjuk won a loose ball at midfield and sent a long pass to the top right corner of the 18 yard box where Tara Bailes collided with the GK who came all the way out to thwart the attack. This helped energize the Irish and the match settled into a series of counter attacks by the two teams. Midway through the 1st half, Catholic began to get the run of play and began to put pressure on the Wolves. This led to several shots on goal and two corner kicks. The first saw the Wolves clear a ball off the line . The second, by Shannon Fitzgerald, found Tara Bailes planted at the far end of the six yard box where she nodded the ball down and saw it skip past the keeper into the far side of the net. Catholic 1, Timberland 0 in the 25th minute.
Catholic maintained the momentum for another five minutes but slowly the Wolves fought back, sending balls into the corners where wingers Chelseay Johnston & Abbie Albietz ran them down and create throw-ins. This tactic played a significant role in the Wolves attack as Chrissy Frkovic, their leading scorer, is also capable of sending her throw-ins deep into the box. Timberland’s first goal came after Catholic had cleared a throw-in, but sweeper Jamie Buehrle sent the ball back into the middle where Jamie Moniaci once again sent it wide to Abbie who tied the game in the 36th minute with her shot. Shortly after this, Catholic suffered a significant loss when jr. defender Alli Bailes crumpled to the ground following a collision with Abbie. It appears that Alli hurt her right knee (the good one) and she was done for the game. Freshman Alli Musgrave came in initially although Coach Timson later had Courtney Whittaker take over at the right back position at the beginning of the second half. This was a double whammy for the Irish as Courtney had been providing valuable minutes as a forward sub and it was her energy and speed in the first half that helped put pressure on the Wolves back line leading up to the Irish goal.
The Wolves came out strong once again in the 2nd half and the pressure ultimately broke down the Catholic defense as described earlier. Now down to only four subs, compared to the Wolves who were regularly moving players into the game, it became even harder to create the scoring opportunities needed to tie the game. It was 12 minutes into the second half before the Lady Irish were able to get into the Wolves box. Shannon Fitzgerald, with a penetrating run from left to right and then back, earned a direct kick from just outside. Jordan Swift’s kick handcuffed the keeper who fumbled the ball and Tara Bailes pounced, only to see the keeper fall to the ground and just push the ball outside. It was another eight minutes before the Irish again penetrated this deep as the Wolves two central defenders were sweeping up everything pushed their way. Then, in the 68th minute the Irish suffered a second blow. Courtney Whittaker, now playing right back, was hurt during a scramble in the Irish end. She did not return. Alli Musgrave now came in for the remainder of the match at right back and the freshman showed a steel core that belied her slight frame. She won several 50/50 balls against larger opponents early on and she made two runs into the offensive end in the final five minutes in an effort to fight back from the deficit.
Catholic didn’t have any quit in them all day. Tired, yes. Banged up, yes. But they weren’t going to quit and they visibly shook up the Wolves when in the 77th minute, off a quick throw-in by Elle Holtman, Rebecca Renner pushed a ball to the far right side. Jordan Swift found the energy to not only run down the ball, it was her quick volley shot in full stride that surprised the keeper. The ball took one bounce and skipped into the back of the net as the keeper could only throw out her foot in a vain attempt to stop the shot and low and behold, it was Catholic 2, Timberland 2 with the clock down to two minutes remaining. The final surprise belonged to the Wolves however as they threw everyone forward and once again the pressure was too much for the undermanned Irish.
It was quite a match, one that the Irish only dominated for a few periods during the game, but especially after watching the tape of the match, it is easy to envision that with a few bounces the match could have gone to the Irish. Final stats bear out the effort with both teams earning four corner kicks and Catholic outshooting Timberland 7-6. It was a case where the best defense can be a good offense and sometimes you need a few breaks as well. Congratulations to seniors Sam Knuckles, Shannon Fitzgerald, Rebecca Renner, Farrin Guy and Ali Kessler. For the underclassmen, I look forward to seeing more then two of your games next year.