Cats reach final after cornering game's lone goal

From Herald Staff Reports

Needing a spark against an opponent that posed unexpected resistance, Jasper created a golden moment from an expected source.

Verkamp

Junior midfielder Alex Verkamp lofted a corner kick to Erin Moser with less than 13 minutes to play in Thursday’s Class 2A girls soccer sectional semifinals at Floyd Central, and Moser headed in the night’s only goal to sneak the Wildcats past Corydon Central 1-0 and into Saturday’s 3 p.m. championship against New Albany.

Verkamp regularly executes corner-kick duties for the Wildcats (10-5-2). And Jasper needed her precision in Thursday’s skirmish where “there wasn’t an easy ball to be had all night,” Wildcat coach Anthony Price said.

“She has served some wicked balls this year, and that one was just perfect,” Price said. “Erin made a great run; we run a play a lot of people don’t see where we start off on the end line, and Corydon kind of got sucked down and never followed us back out, so Erin found a spot about the 12 (yard line). Alex put it on the money.”

Responsible for the finish was Moser, who scored three goals in the third match of the season but had tallied just one other score all season until Thursday. But Moser, a junior, knew precisely where to position herself for a window to score, after years of working in concert with Verkamp, her  senior teammate.

Moser

“She’s one of our best players at that,” Moser said. “With the last three years and playing with Alex, she plays a lot of over balls and I try to tend to stay back from the near post. And it just worked out tonight and I got myself a header.”

Price added that “Erin driving that home was just perfect,” since about 10 minutes before she scored, the Cats created another corner-kick opportunity that just missed the goal.

“I knew we were going to get one,” Moser said. “I knew if we kept at it, we would get it.”

The Panthers never made the prospect easy.

Jasper beat Corydon Central 2-1 earlier this season as the Cats punched in the game’s first two goals and the Panthers (11-5-1) didn’t score until the final minutes when Jasper’s starters were out of the game. But Thursday, Corydon’s physical midfield dulled Jasper’s scoring chances, and the Cats relied on goalkeeper Shannon Sonderman to repel two Panther threats in the first half.

First, Corydon sent a crossing pass over Sonderman’s head to a player on the back-door side, but Sonderman retreated quickly enough to get a hand on the ball and push it over the crossbar. And just a few minutes before the half, the Panthers created a melee in the box and manufactured a shot that Sonderman fell on to extinguish the threat.

“Corydon fought really hard,” Price said. “They were a bit of a different team from the first time we saw them. They fought a little bit harder tonight. They came out pretty fired up and pretty focused, and it took us a while to settle in.”

Price wants that process to go smoother when Jasper returns to Floyds Knobs on Saturday in search of the program’s third sectional title and first since 2007. The last obstacle is New Albany, which rallied from 2-0 down to upset defending sectional champ Floyd Central 3-2 in penalty kicks.

Jasper and New Albany have never faced each other and the Bulldogs have never won a sectional title, but New Albany garnered Price’s attention with its solid goalkeeper, physical back line and a penchant for sending long shots ahead and crashing the goal.

“We’ve never played them, so we don’t know what to expect. But we’re ready for anything,” Moser said. “We’re not done.”

“It’ll be an intense game on Saturday,” Price added. “I don’t see a lot separating either team. It’s going to be a tight one. It’ll be a good one.”




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