Jasper girls soccer ends season in regional battle

Jasper's Annie Donato goes for a header during Saturday's girls soccer regional in Jasper. Northview defeated Jasper 2-1. Marlena Sloss/The Herald


JASPER — After a stern talking to at halftime, the Jasper girls soccer team (10-7-2) came into the second half of its regional game against Northview High School (17-1) Saturday afternoon with a vengeance. But it wasn’t enough to earn a win.

The team ended its season with a 2-1 regional loss to Northview.

Post-matchup, the players weren’t terribly proud of their first half, despite going toe to toe with the Knights in what was an evenly matched half. The second half, though, they said they played their best soccer.

“The first half we didn’t play a winning game,” senior Annie Donato said. “At least we’ll be remembered for our second half.”

Although the outcome wasn’t what the Wildcats hoped for, it was an exciting game. In the first half, both teams played a solid possession game, with possessions and goal attempts switching from team to team often. Northview junior Kassidy Kellett made the first goal of the game at 35:05 in a rare score off a corner kick that hit the far corner of the goal before connecting with the back of the net. That put the Knights up 1-0 over the Wildcats.

The next goal came at 15:37 when Kellett made her 42nd goal of the season right through the hands of Jasper keeper Emma Shelton. The Wildcats were now down 2-0.

At the 8:33 mark, Wildcat Kara Krueger, a lynchpin of the Jasper offense, went down with a knee injury. She over-extended a lunge for the ball and sprained the joint. Wildcats Coach Michael Donato carried her off the field, and she finished the half on the sideline before re-entering the game in the second half.

To Donato, it looked like his team spent the first half feeling out its opponent — something they did often in regular-season play — rather than playing their hardest. Prior to the game, he warned them that would not work in regional play, and had a stern talk with them at halftime. That halftime talk seemed to do the trick. The Wildcats played much more aggressively in the second half, keeping the ball on the Knights’ half of the field and taking several more goal attempts than in the first half. Despite her injury, Krueger scored the Wildcats’ only goal of the game at 26:23.

As the game came to a close, the Wildcats took a slew of shots at the goal, but none made it into the net to tie the game.

The game ended with a Knights victory and an end to the Wildcats’ season.

Jasper's Emily Patterson and Kimber Schnarr approach the referees after Saturday's girls soccer regional in Jasper. Northview defeated Jasper 2-1. Marlena Sloss/The Herald

In some ways, the game paralleled the season as a whole. Post-game, Donato and the players noted that their season had a slow start, but by mid-season, they were playing solid soccer and winning games.

“We grew a lot over the season,” said senior Kimber Schnarr. “I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”

This game, too, had a slow start, with the Wildcats’ playing better later on. In the second half, Schnarr said, the Wildcats wanted the win; they just couldn’t get their shots to connect.

Although the game didn’t end the way they’d hoped, overall, the Wildcats were proud of their performance and their season.

“They finished the game playing the way they can play,” Donato said. “It was a good way to step off the field.”

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