Rangers clip Vikings for sectional hardware

Photo by Hunter Tickel/The Herald
Forest Park celebrates its Sectional 48 girls soccer championship Saturday at South Spencer following a 1-0 win against North Posey. 


REO — This one was never really in doubt.

Though, there was pressure in a scoreless match at the break, prior to Forest Park finding a way in a 1-0 win over North Posey on Saturday.

“At halftime, we definitely felt the pressure that we needed to go out there and get one right away,” senior midfielder Emma Grundhoefer said. “Put away this game.”

A Grundhoefer pass to senior center midfielder Payton Dilger connection did just that in the 55th minute.

Sustained build-up play spilled over into a finish as Dilger switched the point of attack to the left corner. A couple more passes and solid movement in the box created a chance that was knocked across the end line.

On the ensuing corner kick, Dilger nodded home Grundhoefer’s cross to the upper right corner. It was Payton’s 10th goal of the year and Grundhoefer’s fifth assist.

“That’s who I always aim for on my corners,” Grundhoefer said. “She’s the tallest girl, it’s our best shot.”

The Class 1A-No. 3 Rangers (18-1) created the majority of the chances and dominated possession as it hoisted its third sectional plaque in four years in Sectional 48 at South Spencer.

“The biggest thing was nerves,” coach Brad Weyer said. “Just the way the girls were talking before the game, they were all hyped, but as soon as we started getting warmed up, there was a little bit of shakiness in their voices. They were pacing. It was just mainly nerves.”

The Rangers are scheduled to play the regional semifinal 6 p.m. Wednesday at South Knox.

“I’m very relieved, I know our work is not done,” Grundhoefer said. “We have much more to go during this season. Very relieved and happy for us because we worked really hard for this.”

Seven minutes prior to Forest Park’s breakthrough, senior striker Leah Dilger got a touch on the ball that was deflected off Vikings freshman keeper Zoe Bippus before nearly centering to the front of the net in a scramble at the end line.

In the seventh minute, Forest Park began applying pressure, Payton sent a restart from her half into the box that sophomore striker Addison Weyer beat Bippus to the touch, but clipped it wide of the open net.

Four minutes later, senior midfielder Abigal Jahn broke loose on the left wing and flashed a centering pass across the goalmouth that deflected out for a corner.

The Rangers continued to pour on the pressure, two minutes later, Weyer collected the ball near the penalty spot, and laid it off to Grundhoefer for a high chance on goal.

The Vikings had forays into the final third, but with few options for the final pass with heavy numbers behind the ball.

“We got another clean sheet,” Brad said. “We didn’t offer them very many good looks, any looks at all. That was a positive.”

The team has shut out 15 opponents.

Forest Park out-shot North Posey 8-1 on the frame, in the first 40 minutes, and 12-1 for the match.

In the 36th minute, Leah picked up an errant clearance and fired over the bar from 26 yards.

Two minutes later, Payton had the keeper beat with a free kick from 42 yards that smashed the bar.

The Rangers are defending regional champs after capturing their first one last postseason.

“It’s tough beating a team two years in a row, especially a team as quality as North Posey,” Brad said. “It’s just a great win. Happy to be moving on.”

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