Landon Troyer photos
Since getting crushed from the Div. III girls soccer tournament last year in convincing fashion, the Hiland Lady Hawks soccer team had circled a return date with the Lady Bishops on their calendar.
Yes, the rejuvenated Hiland program had to work through the regular season and a series of trap games in the earlier tournament run, but they did so with great success, and lo and behold, they found themselves lining up against the same Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans team that had thumped them the year prior.
This was the game they had waited for, and this was their proving grounds that they have taken a huge step up in competing with the best teams around.
They proved the latter against the Lady Bishops, but unfortunately they didn’t get the win they so dearly wanted, falling 2-1 in a heart-pounding double-overtime loss.
The Lady Hawks found themselves trailing midway through the first half when they provided the Lady Bishops with a goal by producing an own-goal.
In the 28th minute Hiland freshman Kate Bodiker appeared to punch in the equalizer, but the Lady Hawks were whistled for a penalty on the play, and the goal was erased.
Ten minutes later with time winding down in the half, Greta Mast did find the equalizer, and the two teams went into the half locking horns at 1-1.
Neither team generated a lot of offensive chances throughout the final 40 minutes of regulation, but with 2:45 left to play, Gabby Schlabach gave Hiland fans a jolt of hope when she drove a ball goal-ward. However, Zanesville Bishop keeper Lily McLaughlin knocked the shot down and scrambled to fall on it to preserve the tie and send the game into overtime. According to OHSAA rules, tournament games are decided by the golden goal rule in overtime games, meaning the first goal ends the game. That goal wouldn’t come easily.
In the first overtime period, Hiland keeper Kendra Shetler made a terrific sliding save on a shot from Kailey Zemba. Zemba then got off another shot that Shetler knocked away, and Hiland turned around and produced an offensive opportunity of their own. However, Mia Gertz’s shot flew wide right, and the game continued. Schlabach also got off a decent look, but McLaughlin handled that one as well.
With five minutes left to play in the first overtime, Hiland fired off three consecutive corner kicks, but none would produce a score.
Hiland got a huge scare with under one minute to play when the Lady Bishops drilled a shot that sailed just wide right, and neither team could get off a good look over the final minute, sending the game to its second 15-minute overtime period.
Starting the second OT period, Zumba got off a sliding kick that went toward the goal but was handled easily by Shetler. At 10:50 the Lady Hawks would have another corner kick opportunity, but Gertz’s bullet into the scrum in front of the net was eventually knocked away. Bodiker got a shot on goal with 9:00 left, and when McLaughlin turned it away, the Lady Bishops went on the attack. The ball eventually found the feet of Zumba, who fired on goal. Shetler went down low to stop it and got a hand on it, but the ball had enough momentum to trickle into the goal and give Zanesville Rosecrans a district title.
The Lady Hawks ended one of the best seasons in school history with a 13-6 record and district runner-up trophy while the Lady Bishops continue on to regionals with a sparkling 13-2-3 mark.
While the loss will certainly sting for some time, Lee and his large group of returning talent next season know they have every reason to feel very good about where the program is headed. No doubt they will once again circle a third dance with the Lady Bishops in next year’s tournament. Maybe then they can complete their wish list for good.