For 60 minutes, Miller City’s goalie deflected, re-directed and stuffed a bevy of Evergreen scoring chances as the Vikings peppered her with 30 shots during that time.
However, a give-and-go goal by Sydney Woodring with 19:53 left in the game put the Vikes on top and they went on to beat the Wildcats 2-0 to claim their third straight Division III girls soccer sectional championship Tuesday at Pifer Field.
Evergreen is next in action Tuesday, Oct. 27 against an opponent to be determined, as the Vikings host the district tournament.
“We knew they were a defensively sound team,” Evergreen coach Josh Radel said after. “The biggest thing we talked about is that we had to make connections around the goal and pick our shots. I think our girls were a little anxious or excited and they were letting them rip from a lot of different places.
“Their keeper made save after save after save. I mean we were putting it on frame and she just has a nose for the ball.”
Koenig made her first great save on Reagan Radel’s free kick eight minutes into the game, deflecting it away off the post.
Koenig wasn’t done with her ESPN highlight reel as she slammed the door on Sydney Woodring at the 28-minute mark, then made a diving save on Paige Radel nine minutes later.
One more time Koenig stopped Woodring with eight minutes to go in the half as the senior net-minder knocked away 13 shots in the first 40 minutes.
After hammering 22 shots to none for the Wildcats in the first half, the Vikings kept the heat on in the second with eight more attempts in the first 20 minutes — six of which Koenig handled.
Finally, just past the halfway point of the second, Evergreen broke through.
Kierstyn Taylor’s free kick began a rush down the right side with Woodring feeding the middle to Brooklyn Camacho, then taking the return pass leaving her in a one-on-one against Koenig.
This time Woodring’s crossing shot found the left inside of the net to put the Vikings on top.
“The girls saw that they backed 20 or 30 yards off the ball and Kierstyn made a great tap pass to Sydney,” explained coach Radel of the beginning of the play.
“Sydney fed the middle and Brooklyn saw the run the whole way and was able to redistribute to Sydney for the finish.”
From that point Evergreen didn’t allow the Wildcats any semblance of a scoring chance.
Anna Huntzinger, Kaylee Hein, Jocelyn Schuster and Taylor knocked away every entry try, and cleared every pass upfield.
Goalie Skylee Raker faced only one shot all night, which she saved.
With 3:29 to go, the Vikings nailed the clincher when Woodring found Paige Radel inside and Koenig never had a chance as the junior striker’s bullet found the back of the goal for a 2-0 margin.
“Five years we have been a varsity program and we have accomplished this so far,” an excited Radel exclaimed. “Some of these girls it’s the first time playing soccer and the girls have their whole heart in it. This team right here truly loves each other and play for each other and they are coming together at the right time.
“To three-peat like that? Now it’s let’s move on to the next chapter and break the ice in the district.”
After starting the season with a number of girls sidelined during an 0-3 beginning, Evergreen now stands at 11-5.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com