Ranger girls rule county match

Photos by Hunter Tickel/The Herald
Jasper junior center back Abby Buschkoetter (42) attempts to win a challenge out of the back against Forest Park junior winger Zoe Becher (4). Forest Park won the match against Jasper 2-0 on Thursday.


JASPER — Forest Park played attacking soccer against Jasper from the get-go, burying a pair of chances on Thursday in Jasper for a 2-0 victory - the team's fifth straight.

In the 14th minute, the Class 1A-No. 3 Rangers (15-1) went ahead with a breakaway finish by senior forward Leah Dilger on a penetrating ball by senior center midfielder Payton Dilger.

"Normally, I'm looking to shoot, but that time I heard her yell, and so I knew it was a better option to pass it off," Payton said. "Their defense is tight together, and they know where the ball is going to go so the best option was to chip it there."

The Wildcats (5-10) had chances to knot the game in the closing half.

"I think, definitely, the positive side is that their attitudes on the field didn't change," Jasper coach Michael Donato said. "They competed the entire game. Probably our biggest failure point tonight is we kept trying to hit the frontline at their feet, as opposed to utilizing some of the space in the back."

In the 51st minute, Jasper junior Reagan Forwendel carried to the endline before cutting back, and bending it wide of the far post.

Then, 13 minutes later, sophomore Lilly Rasche brought down a long ball clearance from senior keeper Maggie Hubster near the half, and played a weighted ball through to junior Reagan Fortwendel, her effort forced a second corner kick in quick succession.

Five minutes later, the Rangers put away an insurance goal to make it 2-0. Payton served up a 41-yard free kick from the left flank that senior midfielder Emma Grundhoefer redirected on a frame with the slightest of touches with her head, the ball rolled into the empty net.

The Wildcats couldn't come back from that goal.

Forest Park senior forward Leah Dilger (11) is played through in the box, before calmly slotting a breakaway for the opening goal. Forest Park won the match against Jasper 2-0 on Thursday.

"Jasper, year in and year out always puts out a quality side," Forest Park coach Brad Weyer said. "Their record may not reflect the strength of their team, but they are always sound. They are sound defensively. They can attack, and we had to respect that. I don't care what their record says. That's a good ballclub out there. I'm really happy to get a win going to (the) sectional. The last couple years, we lost or had one or two draws against Jasper, so we've never gone into (the) sectional with a win (during my tenure). It's going to give us huge momentum and huge confidence going into next week."

The Rangers had the run of play in the first quarter of the match but Jasper responded by getting more of the ball after falling behind.

Forest Park plays host South Spencer in the first round of the sectional at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Rangers advanced to semi-state last postseason, and are holders of four straight sectional plaques.

Jasper will match up with Washington in the sectional semifinals of Class 2A at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The Wildcats are two-time defending sectional champs.

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