Staggs party: Sophomore sparks Pats' repeat

Dave Weatherwax/The Herald
Heritage Hills’ Darby Vinson, center, began to celebrate with teammates after the final whistle in Saturday’s Class 1A girls soccer sectional championship against in Bretzville. The Patriots sank Forest Park 3-2 in overtime, defending their sectional title from last season. They’ll face defending Class 1A state champion Providence on the road Saturday in a single-game regional matchup. For a gallery of photos, click here.


By JOHN PATISHNOCK
Herald Sports Writer

BRETZVILLE — Thoughts from last year’s title contest flooded the field Saturday at Bretzville during the girls soccer sectional Class 1A championship.

Staggs

Some good. Some bad.

As the action unfolded Saturday, the memories only intensified. And for good reason.

Penalty kicks weren’t needed this season, like last year, but for the second straight year Heritage Hills and Forest Park couldn’t settle matters in regulation.

Less than two minutes into extra time, Heritage Hills’ Karaline Staggs deposited a pass from Adrianna Oxley into the upper left corner of the goal, signaling the beginning of the end of the Patriots’ 3-2 victory in another fierce postseason battle.

“They come at us with such intensity and it’s always going to be a good matchup and I just could not feel worse for those kids sitting over there,” Heritage Hills coach Doug Satterfield said, referencing the Rangers. “It was just a hard-fought, classic Heritage Hills-Forest Park game.”

“It’s like a repeat again,” added Darby Vinson, who registered the Pats’ second score on a penalty kick, giving them a 2-1 lead with 8:58 left in regulation. “The girls here, we’re all like family. We all play together.”

Heritage Hills (13-5-1) will battle No. 4 Providence (11-4-3) at 5 p.m. CDT Saturday in the one-game regional at Clarksville.

“It feels amazing, considering this is the first time ever we’ve won PAC and sectional in one year,” said Breigh Haase, whose goal knotted the game at 1 about midway through the first half. “I’m just so proud of my team.”

Forest Park (8-9-1), meanwhile, was forced to accept another disagreeable ending to a season.

“Disappointing outcome,” said Forest Park coach Amanda Gogel, whose team played its second straight overtime match. “Forty-eight hours after a hard workout most of my girls played 94 minutes and some PKs on Thursday, and then to come back and play another 94 minutes is excruciating. I know they gave it all that they could. Heritage Hills had a little more juice at the end.

“It’s just frustrating, two years in a row to lose like this.”

Energy wasn’t a problem for the Rangers at the beginning, as they scored less than three minutes into the contest when Forest Park’s Kendall Sherman blasted in a goal from nearly 30 yards after Heritage Hills unsuccessfully tried to clear the ball.

The Rangers encountered trouble with getting their forwards involved, Gogel said, but cross-field passes and long-range shots from their midfielders represented the best scoring opportunities.

After Vinson gave the Patriots the lead with time evaporating, the Rangers immediately responded. For the second time, Sherman connected from long range, lofting a shot from about 25 yards out over the head of the Patriot goalkeeper.

“For them to come back and fight back like that shows a lot,” Gogel said.

Satterfield said Salem and North Harrison represented themselves well. Still, he and the Patriots figured if they were to repeat as sectional champions, they’d have to defeat Forest Park. That’s why the Patriots were encouraged after beating the Rangers 3-1 in the regular season.

That’s the point at which Satterfield began thinking his team could be a real postseason contender. Last year’s team was expected to collar the school’s first sectional title, making that accomplishment sound like more of a relief than anything.

This year’s achievement accompanied a different vibe.

“A year ago today, if somebody said we’d probably be back here in the same spot, I’d probably say, ‘Well, hopes are hopes but reality is reality,’” Satterfield said. “We’d love to do it but I don’t see how it’s possible.”

One reason for Satterfield’s reticence was numbers. Usually, his roster stands at 18 to 20 players. This year, it hovered around 14, thanks to some injuries and a couple of seniors who decided not to play this season. Only two seniors are on the team this year, with Satterfield playing the minimum 11 players Saturday.

But the Patriots adjusted. And they got along well in the process, with Haase saying, “We have never gotten in a fight, like never.”

From not getting rattled after the early deficit to balancing aggression with defense in the extra time, Satterfield’s team executed his gameplan. The Patriots also exerted themselves at the most opportune times.

“We knew we had to play a lot harder and contain ourselves whenever the ball went out,” Staggs said. “We knew didn’t have a lot of subs. We had to breathe whenever the ball was out of play and when it wasn’t around us. That helped us out.”

Forest Park graduates a six-member seniors that consists of twin sisters Mady and Megan Grundhoefer, Amanda Jacob, Keisha Jackson, Sherman and Nicole Weyer.

“They are a wonderful group of girls,” Gogel said. “I am very lucky to have them, this whole group, as my first year coaching.”
 
Contact John Patishnock at jpatishnock@dcherald.com.




More on DuboisCountyHerald.com