Menuez’s OT goal sends Lady Hawks to the district final

Wednesday night’s Division III district semifinal match was one to remember, including a record-breaking performance by the winner, the Lady Hawks pulling out a thrilling 1-0 win in golden goal overtime.

In a classic stalemate Wednesday, Oct. 28 at Quaker Stadium in New Philadelphia, the Hiland Lady Hawks soccer team took on the Coshocton Redskins in a down to the wire duel. The game started off with few shots for Hawks, but they seemed to control possession.

“I thought we controlled the tempo pretty well tonight, “said Hiland coach Jeremy Kauffman. “I think on a wider field we would have been able to spread them out and get more opportunities. It wasn’t going to be one of those games where we were going to get a lot of possession and get a wide-open shot. I told the girls that we were either going to score from 25 yards out or have somebody make a play inside the box.”

With both teams not getting a lot of big chances in the first half, the game headed into the half at a 0-0 tie. The second half became somewhat of a repeat of the first half, until clutch time came around with about 15 minutes to go. Around this time the Lady Hawks began to create a few chances from wingers Anna Kaufman and Madeline Kauffman, who created chances by taking the ball down the sideline and crossing the ball into the middle of the field.

Hiland also saw a few opportunities come from their forwards, sophomore Sierra Yoder, senior Brandi Raber and freshman Lexi Raber. The Hawks chances, whether from a cross from a winger or a corner kick, were all quickly swatted away with a Lady Redskins cross.

Though Coshocton seemed to be caught in a defensive mode, they found an opportunity to take the lead and possibly seal the game with about nine minutes to go, a one on one with Hiland goalkeeper Beth Boyles was their shot, that was until the referee called the Coshocton forward offside. What ensued was an argument between the Coshocton coaching staff and the center referee that ended in a yellow card for the Coshocton head coach Craig Hamilton.

“We (coaches) were all right in line with that play and we all felt we were on-side,” said Hamilton. “It was a tough break for us, but you have to keep playing hard and let it go.”

Three minutes later, Coshocton earned another yellow card after Hiland midfielder Sarah Menuez caught an elbow to the face from a Redskins midfielder. After, this, the Lady Hawks began a barrage of shots but still came up empty handed.

Soon, the clock hit 0:00 and both teams still stood tied at zero.

Coming off an overtime victory in their prior tournament game, Hiland had a feel for what it would take, and nearly duplicated their earlier effort.

“I thought both teams played a lot of defense in the first half,” said Hamilton. “In the second half we had a little more offensive possession, but our touch came into play, and we weren’t able to keep the ball at our feet very well. Against a talented team like that, which played aggressive the whole game, you can’t afford to have that happen.”

After a short break, Hiland (8-7-3) and Coshocton (8-9-1) headed into a sudden death overtime, and it was one to remember. The Lady Hawks continued where they left off at the end of the second half and created their chances, which finally came to a culmination when Menuez received the ball around the six yard box, turned and chipped the keeper with a ball that seemed to hang for an eternity.

Finally, the ball hit side net, the game was over, Hiland had won 1-0, and for the first time in the history of Hiland’s women soccer program, the Lady Hawks had two postseason victories.

“I saw the goal and I knew what I wanted to do,“ said Menuez of the chip shot. “In practice we work a lot on placing the ball. I thought it was in as soon as I kicked it.”

“These girls just keep going at it,” said Kauffman of his team. “To win two overtime games in a row like that says a lot about who they are.”

The win advanced Hiland to the district final, where they will face Zanesville Rosecrans, a team that dealt Hiland a 4-0 loss earlier this season. But that game was one that Kauffman said at the time, as he did again after this win, was not a very good effort for his team.

Player of the Game

The Player of the Game was awarded to Hiland midfielder Sarah Menuez. After, getting to the back side, Menuez cleaned up the ball, turned and hitt a fantastic chip that she knew was going in as soon as she struck it. Her effort allowed her team to break the school record for postseason wins in her senior year.

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