The Blue Springs girls soccer team launched a hailstorm of shots toward the Fort Osage goal but had little to show for it.
Off the crossbar, knocked away by diving goalkeeper McKenzie Lyon, barely missing wide of the goal – you name it – many Wildcat shots were inches from going into the goal.
However, freshman Katy Knudsen finally managed to break a 1-1 deadlock in overtime. Senior midfielder Hannah Goddard launched a curving corner kick toward the goal. Knudsen leaped up and knocked in a backward header for the game-winner in overtime to earn a 2-1 victory over the Indians Thursday in a non-conference matchup at Peve Stadium.
“I just wanted to get a head on it,” Knudsen said. “That’s what I practice and that’s what I am good at. I am always taller than everyone and that’s what I like to do.”
The goal came in the 82nd minute and was moments before sophomore Jazzy Taylor had a wide-open shot on the right wing that nearly snuck under the crossbar but was knocked over the net by Lyon.
The Fort Osage goalkeeper had an outstanding game despite facing several shots from a Wildcat offense that outshot the Indians 23-4 (13-3 on goal). She made 11 saves, some of which came on shots from point-blank range or breakaways. But the volume of shots finally caught up to Lyon when Knudsen snuck a header inside the far post.
“She’s been doing really well,” Fort coach Andrew Fletcher said of Lyon, who had not allowed in the first five games. “She saved a penalty kick against Oak Park, which was our first big test. She also kept us in the game today. That allowed them to sit in their shape all game.”
In the second half, with the game tied 1-1, Blue Springs senior Marissa Moore had a shot go off the crossbar midway through the period and moments later, Taylor sent a nice cross to freshman Maddie Cates, who banged a shot right at the goal off the crossbar.
“They did this to us last year, too,” Blue Springs coach Doug McLagan said. “They came in and defended and did that really well. We’ve hit the crossbar about 15 times this year, which is ridiculous. (Lyon) also made some crucial saves. We just had so many chances that we didn’t put away.”
The Indians (5-1) also had an opportunity to break the deadlock late in the second when junior midfielder Karlee Tatum got through a double-team and had a clear run to the goal, but Wildcats goalkeeper Desiree Barajas came up to the ball and stopped the shot at close range. She also saved one open shot from Bailee Summers a couple of minutes later that came halfway inside the penalty box.
Blue Springs (3-4) took the lead in the 25th minute after junior Olivia Isaacks zig-zagged through the Fort defense. She deked one defender, squeezed between two of them and then buried a shot.
“Usually when I get goals it’s because of my dribbling,” Isaacks said. “I saw that opening down the line and I just took it and went with it and hoped for the best.”
Fort Osage didn’t get too many opportunities to score with just one forward at the top and most of the team committed to the defensive side of the field. But it managed to get one back early in the second half. Megan Lyon was fouled on a breakaway attempt when she pushed the ball near the top of the penalty arc. Kelsi Schaberg followed with a direct free kick that she banged inside of the left post to tie it up.
“We changed our shape today and put one extra defender out there,” Fletcher said. “We knew that they would have possession. I thought we could create some chances and we did.”
But thanks to Knudsen’s heroics, Blue Springs was able to come within one win of matching their win total from the entire 2015-16 season.
“We got a lot of momentum this year and we are building up,” Isaacks said. “I think we’ll have a good team for this year and next year.”