Women’s soccer wins late in OT thriller
The Webster University women’s soccer team needed to rebound after a 2-0 loss to Millikin University, and they did so with a dramatic comeback win against Carroll University (4-3) led by senior forward Megan Niederschulte.
The competitive atmosphere of the game created a postseason feel for the coaches and players.
“I told the players coming into the game that Carroll University is a quality team that competed in the regional tournament last year,” said head coach Luigi Scire. “This game would give us an indication where we are at, as well as give us the opportunity to play in a high pressure environment found in the postseason.”
The match exhibited solid defense from both Carroll and Webster despite a first half goal by the Carroll University Pioneers. The Pioneers would maintain the lead well into the second half.
With only two minutes remaining in the contest, Niederschulte was able to gain control of the ball and put it past the goalkeeper to push the game into overtime.
“Going into overtime, the real key to us winning the game was our conditioning,” Niederschulte said. “We had the drive to step it up and finish the game.”
The mental and physical conditioning of the players on both teams would play a major role as the match went into second overtime.
“Megan Niederschulte is the epitome of a winner, and she is definitely one of our hardest workers,” said associate head coach Mike Hutchinson. “She is a player that is capable of making her teammates around her better players.”
In the second overtime, Niederschulte’s hard work paid a dividend when she received a well-placed pass from junior midfielder Morgan Milfeld, leaving Niederschulte one on one against the Pioneers’ goalkeeper.
She maneuvered around the keeper and ended the game dramatically with the winning goal. The Webster bench cleared and sprinted to where Niederschulte stood and celebrated the hard-fought victory.
Although Niederschulte’s efforts were the most noticeable, there were other equally important roles played by her teammates.
Sophomore goalkeeper Shelby Wade made nine saves out of 18 shots while only allowing one to slip through for a goal. The young squad was also capable of playing strong defense and offense despite missing senior Christy Capkovic, junior Lindsey Owens, sophomore Caroline Schmidt and freshman Amy Raimundo to injuries.
Although it is nearly midway through the season, Niederschulte understands that the game against Carroll University was a telltale sign of how good the team could be.
“This game was a turnaround game for us,” Niederschulte said. “We competed with high intensity and came together as team, and it feels like we are now over the slump and can get back on track.”
Niederschulte and the Gorloks open up conference play against the Greenville College Panthers (7-1-1) on Sept 28. They will follow up that game with home matches at Soccer Park against Spalding University (0-5) and MacMurray College (0-6) on Oct. 1 and Oct. 5 respectively.