by Pete Hayes, The Telegraph
LEBANON — Lauren Fischer had a good idea here Wednesday night. She got it from her coach.
Fischer, the Marquette Catholic High goalie, made a save on a penalty shot by Waterloo Gibault’s Carley Olson on the final round of penalty kicks and helped secure a spot in Saturday’s championship game of the Althoff Class 1A Sectional Tournament at McKendree University.
With Marquette leading the PK shootout 4-3, Fischer stopped Carley Olsen’s PK. The Explorers goalie dived to her left and stopped the shot, setting off a celebration by the Explorers on the field and their fans in the stands at McKendree’s Leemon Field.
“I had an idea where (Olson) was going to shoot,” Fischer said. “My coach told me which way she would go.”
Olsen had taken a penalty kick in last week’s regional final against Althoff and Marquette coach Steve Mitchell knew she’d gone to the keeper’s left.
“I saw (Olson’s) kick against Althoff,” Mitchell said. “Of course, there’s no guarantee she’s go that way tonight, but there was a pretty good chance.”
The Explorers will face Columbia at 4:30 Saturday for the sectional and a berth in next Tuesday’s Springfield Super-Sectional game.
“We didn’t show up in the first half,” Mitchell said, “but we came on in the second half. But you have to take your hat off to Gibault. They came ready to play and they played a very good game.
“Their goalie (Abbie Meyer) played an amazing game for them.”
Meyer, a senior, made 15 saves and helped send the game to overtime.
Wednesday’s game was a far cry from the team’s previous meeting this season, a 5-0 victory by Marquette at Gordon Moore Park on April 26.
“We knew (Gibault) would be a lot tougher,” Fischer said. “They have a really good team. I’m just glad I was able to help us win this game.”
Marquette and Gibault were scoreless through 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime before going to a set of five penalty kicks to decide which team would advance to face Columbia in the title match. The game will go into the record books as a 1-0 Marquette victory.
Gibault’s Abby Hasenstab opened the shootout by clanging her shot off the right goalpost. That meant the Explorers need only convert all their chances to advance, but on the fifth set of shooters, Fischer left nothing to chance and secured the victory.
After Hasenstab’s miss, Marquette’s Bailey Hartrich scored. The Hawks got successful attempts from Robyn Lindsey, Maddie O’Neill and Abby Phelps before Hasenstab shot. Marquette got other PKs from Lauren Walsh, Elisa Senno and Adrianna Schindler. Ironically, Gibault’s two penalty misses were by their two leading scorers. Hasenstab had 10 goals and nine assists this season. Olson had nine goals and two assists.
“It’s a tough way to win, but it’s tougher to lose on PKs,” Mitchell said. “I thought our girls did a good job keeping their composure and not panicking.”
The Explorers had chances to score in the overtime as well as in the second half of regulation.
With 4:07 left in the first overtime, Senno’s shot off a corner kick from Copeland was saved by Fischer.
Late in regulation Marquette’s Rebekah Johnes hit a long shot from 30 yards that Meyer tipped and then smothered. With 9:32 left in regulation, Senno got a through-pass from Copeland and broke in on Meyer, who dived to her right to make a save on the close-range shot.
“I’m proud of the way our girls reacted,” Mitchell said. “You have to keep grinding. These are the playoffs and that’s just how it is.
“Now, we go back and get ready to do it again Saturday.”
Marquette's Lauren Fischer celebrates after stopping the final penalty kick against Gibault during Wednesday's Sectional semi-final game played at McKendree College. Marquette won the game 1-0 on penalty kicks. Credit: Billy Hurst - For the Telegraph