Jeeps top Shoals in penalty kicks

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Northeast Dubois senior defender Cole Tretter (31) sprints down the field after Monday evening's Sectional 48 soccer game against Shoals at Northeast Dubois. The Jeeps earned a 3-2 victory in penalty kicks.


DUBOIS — As Northeast Dubois (9-5-2) junior goalkeeper Landon Gutgsell grasped the final shot of Monday evening’s first-round Sectional 48 game against Shoals (4-7-3), euphoria ensued. The contest required penalty kicks, and Gutgsell’s last save ensured two separate entities — pandemonium on the pitch and a Northeast Dubois victory.

“I was praying to God,” Gutgsell said. “I was asking all my loved ones up there, ‘Just let me have this last one.’ That’s all I wanted right there. That moment. I grasped it. I took it. I ran with it.”

The game remained knotted at 0-0 after regulation and two overtime periods concluded. Jeeps head coach Clive Williams had an inkling that the teams would need penalty kicks, and his hunch was on target. Northeast Dubois eventually sealed the 3-2 shootout win.

“I said to the guys, ‘It’s probably going into penalty kicks because I just don’t see us scoring,” Williams said. “They just defended eight people at the back there.”

The squads battled to a stalemate in the first half. Northeast Dubois put the pressure on Shoals in the first few minutes of the game. Although the Jeeps showcased a relentless attack, the Jug Rox defense remained composed and impeded their progress.

As the half’s final minutes ticked down, Northeast Dubois moved the ball upfield and established position near the box. Jeeps sophomore forward Noah Betz received a ball and knocked a header into the goal.

The score was waved off after an offsides call. Shoals concocted a frantic rally, but the contest remained scoreless at the intermission.

“We have intensity,” Williams said. “We’re good at that. We just can’t finish sometimes. People that we normally have, they’ve been injured. They've only just come back.”

The energy remained high throughout the second half. The Jeeps put together a plethora of purposeful passes, while the Jug Rox continued to counter-attack.

Both teams worked through fatigue and maintained their forms. At the end of the frame, the score remained tied.

The first seven-minute overtime period began with a hearty roar from the Northeast Dubois crowd. The Jeeps ripped several shots at the net, but the Jug Rox stayed sturdy.

As the second seven-minute overtime period began, the action unfolded in a similar fashion to the first overtime frame. Northeast Dubois pushed the ball upfield, while Shoals stayed on the defensive.

Penalty kicks provided one last reason for Northeast Dubois fans to get on their feet. The final stage of the game provided plenty of intrigue, and Jeeps senior defender Ethan Myers scored the game-winning goal between two consecutive Shoals misses.

Junior midfielder Bryce Merkel and junior forward Eli Freyberger scored on penalty kicks for the Jeeps.

“Penalties was the only way to do it,” Williams said with a chuckle. “That’s a good job, though. We practiced that. It worked out in the end.”

Northeast Dubois will return to action at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The Jeeps will face the winner of Forest Park and Evansville Day.

At press time, the Rangers held a 4-2 lead over the Eagles in the second half.

“Now that we got this first win, there’s no telling what we can do,” Gutgsell said. “Just watch out for us. That’s all I can say.”

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