Rangers fall inches short in regional loss

Photos by Nic Antaya/The Herald
The Forest Park girls soccer team huddles before Saturday's Class 1A regional game against Oldenburg Academy in Bretzville. The Rangers lost 1-0 to the Twisters as they were just inches away from tying the game in the final ten minutes but couldn't quite achieve the equalizing goal. For more photos from the regional match, click here.

By HENDRIX MAGLEY
hmagley@dcherald.com

BRETZVILLE — In sports, sometimes a close call or a few big plays can determine who wins and who loses in a battle.

But in Saturday morning’s girls soccer regional semifinal between Class 1A No. 14 Forest Park and No. 11 Oldenburg Academy, a few inches is all that separated the Rangers from potentially a second straight overtime affair.

After Oldenburg Academy junior Faith Sullivan found the back of the net with 10:04 to go in the second half to give the Twisters the lead, the Rangers marched down the field on two straight possessions with chances to put the ball in the back of the net. However, both times they fell just short and were eliminated by Oldenburg Academy in the 1-0 defeat.

“You can teach (a team) a lot but you can’t teach heart and this team has a lot of heart,” said Forest Park head coach Brad Weyer. “Their desire and their drive to get that equalizer was really quite impressive and it made me happy and proud to see how far we’ve come as a team.”

The first half between the Rangers and Twisters started sort of slowly as both teams tried to feel each other out as the two opponents hadn’t met at any point during the regular season. Oldenburg Academy controlled possession early and even had a few shot attempts but weren’t able to get any on target as they either missed wide or high of the mark.

Forest Park’s first shot attempt came at the 30 minute mark in the first half as junior Lauren Jahn sent a shot at the Oldenburg goal but Molly Wachsmann was able to send it away. The Twisters ended up with five more shot attempts in the first half but Forest Park freshman goalkeeper Madison Wathen was able to send them all away for a 0-0 score at the halftime break.

“With the cold and without (senior) Claire (Mehling), we knew we wouldn’t be able to play as fast and I figured since both teams didn’t know much about each other it would be kind of a feeling out in the first half which it kind of was,” Weyer said. “There were a few chances here and there but in the second half is when we started to open things up as we saw things developing.”

The second half saw Forest Park control possession of the ball much more often than they did in the first half. Oldenburg and Forest Park split shot attempts early in the second half as Ranger junior Emma Louden tried to break the scoreless tie at the 37 minute mark but the shot was thwarted by the Twister defense.

At the 31 minute mark, Oldenburg Academy appeared to have scored the first goal of the game but the play was called back due to a Twister player being offsides. Following the mishap, Forest Park had a few more shot attempts as Louden and junior Denai Sicard had a few chances but were unable to send one in the back of the net.

Forest Park's Emma Grundhoefer falls over Oldenburg Academy's Molly Wachsmann during Saturday's Class 1A regional game in Bretzville. Wachsmann made a plethora of saves for the Twisters as she was able to hold Forest Park scoreless in Saturday's battle. For more photos from the regional match, click here.

The Rangers continued to show their defensive power but eventually the Twisters were able to break through as Sullivan put Oldenburg Academy on the board at the 10:04 mark to make it 1-0. Forest Park had a few chances in the final ten minutes that came literally within inches of scoring but couldn’t quite make it past Wachsmann as Oldenburg Academy advanced to the regional championship match to face No. 2 Evansville Mater Dei. Mater Dei won the regional title later Saturday evening by defeating Oldenburg Academy, 5-1.

“The first half wasn’t our best half — our passing wasn’t on point or as crisp and I think you give (Oldenburg Academy’s defense) credit,” Weyer said. “They disrupted us in the defensive third and we just weren’t as good in the attacking third. We had a couple of chances but we just couldn’t capitalize on them and we made one mistake late on defense and they punished us for it.”

While the Rangers season has come to an end, there were a lot of memorable moments from the season — winning their first sectional championship since 2013 in penalty kicks, Denai Sicard leading the area with 34 goals scored and the rise of several freshmen making their impact on Forest Park’s varsity squad almost immediately.

Forest Park will return all but one player from their 2018 team next season as they’ll have high hopes for an even deeper postseason run.

“We’ll be looking for something more (next season),” Weyer said. “These girls have an incredible work ethic and this offseason will be vital in getting us ready for next season.”

Junior Kenlee Gehlhausen added: “I’m hoping next year we’ll come back stronger than ever — we’re going to be hungry.”




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