Wildcats claim 2-1 win over RangersOctober 1, 2020
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
BRETZVILLE — In the twilight of Thursday evening’s girls soccer contest between Jasper and Forest Park, Wildcats (5-9-1) senior Kara Krueger took control of the action.
Krueger scored two goals in the 2-1 victory over the Rangers (9-5) at Cedar Crest Intermediate School.
“They were focused,” Jasper head coach Michael Donato said. “We were getting a lot of good effort from everybody. It was a great win for them, it really was. It’s a nice way to end the regular season and go into the sectional.”
The Wildcats set the tone early. Krueger took control of the ball, maneuvered through the Forest Park defense and buried the game’s first goal with 37:15 remaining in the half.
Although Jasper maintained possession for a chunk of the first half, the Rangers capitalized on a plum opportunity to score. The Forest Park offense accelerated up the field and earned a corner kick.
As Forest Park senior Kate Russell rushed toward the goal, a well-placed ball found her in the air. With 12 minutes remaining in the half, Russell leapt forward and struck the ball with her head.
Her choice to use her noggin paid off. Just a few seconds later, the Rangers rushed toward midfield and celebrated the goal.
Neither team scratched during the remainder of the first half. In the second frame, both sides turned up the physicality.
The defenses held firm throughout the opening of the second stanza. Offensive momentum came at a premium, but Krueger made a critical decision with 14:16 left in the game.
Working off a give-and-go play, she zipped ahead and launched a rifle toward the top post. The ball banged off the crossbar and bounced straight down.
Krueger’s emphatic score gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
“She’s so explosive like that on the attack,” Donato said. “You’re always impressed when you see her take a shot on goal.”
From there, Jasper’s stingy defense made a final stand. The Rangers searched for a glimmer of hope in the final moments, but the Wildcats did not relent.
“Credit to them,” Forest Park head coach Brad Weyer said. “They’re a great team. Their record doesn’t reflect how good they actually are. They’re a really good team. They control the ball really well and can finish really well.”
As the second half unfolded, Jasper senior Kylee Vaal maintained a level head and kept the Rangers honest. Donato underscored the importance of her activity on the pitch.
“In the middle there, they weren’t able to knock her off the ball,” he said. “She’s a very strong player. She has good size to her and everything. I think just having that there kind of upset their defense just a little bit.”
Both teams will begin postseason play Oct. 8. The Rangers received a bye and will play the winner of Tell City and South Spencer at South Spencer.
“We’ve been dealing with a couple of different injuries,” Weyer said. “Our confidence has kind of been shaken because of that. I’m just looking to get back on the training ground, work on some things and kind of restore our confidence a little bit. Being able to get on the training ground will be crucial.”
Meanwhile, Jasper will face Pike Central in the Princeton sectional.
“We need to keep the girls focused and keep everybody healthy,” Donato said. “We’ll keep everybody healthy and safe. Nobody getting injured — that’s the biggest thing right now.”
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