Webster Groves vs Rockwood Summit. Overtime. Set pieces. They go hand-in-hand when these Suburban South (now Suburban XII South) foes gather. Both teams came into the match having given up a single goal midway through the regular season while going undefeated thus far.
That changed for the Statesmen in the 99th minute Thursday when a hand ball call 23 yards out, just wide of the 18 yard box, led to a direct kick. One minute remaining in the second overtime period and freshman Anna Lawler stepped up to take the kick, her first set piece of the match, called upon by Head Coach Chris Kappler. Her shot to the near post was tipped up onto the underside of the crossbar by senior GK Charlotte Kennedy but fell into the goal for the game-winner.
Anna Lawler, post-game (YouTube)
Lawler has been covered on this site several times for her Club exploits. The central midfielder for Summit, who plays center back for her ENCL squad, she spent much of her time playing defense in Summit’s 4-3-3 system, almost shadowing Maddie Pokorny but also making a number of timely clearances as Webster Groves pushed hard and had the better opportunities on the day. That meant that the outside mids – Gabi Pacino and Megan Chac – drifted in regularly and carried on a significant battle with Webster’s Cami Unger (pictured above battling Pacino) and Jacqueline Baetz.
Before I go further, a shout out to Webster and Summit. They spent the money to have 3 referees, including Elvis Mahmutović in the center (pictured above). Elvis is regular on the USL Pro circuit, handled the center when the U17 MNT played at Soccer Park and is on track for a National license. It paid dividends in two ways – less controversy during the game and when a player sustained a head injury in the second half, Mahmutović noticed immediately and wasted no timing blowing his whistle to stop play. Well done to the schools!
The pace was frantic and with the hard, unyielding surface at Webster neither team was able to sustain much in the way of the beautiful game. At times, the back six for Webster (Lee, Beck, Burke, Burke, Baetz and Unger) showed intent but the connection with the attack was lacking for both squads Thursday. The goals in regulation were both scored as a result of mistakes as Summit Coach Chris Kappler noted.
In the 21st, senior Alli Thomas broke up a play just beyond the center circle and was then allowed to run straight at the goal unimpeded. Her shot from 22 yards slipped in off the underside of the crossbar to give Webster the early lead. Then in the second half, a sloppy back pass led to a corner kick for Summit and junior Kristen Sparks headed in to knot the score in the 51st (that’s Spark’s with the head gear and ponytail in the air redirecting the ball into the net).
A good game between a pair of teams with dreams of reaching the Final Four this season with the opportunities created by the new four class system. Webster Groves have Ursuline in their District and Visitation to get past in post-season. Summit’s most significant challenge will come in District’s against Union. Those games begin in less than a month (May 16th). Who will be standing tall then?
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