Chances to score were abundant for the Francis Howell Central girls soccer team against Cor Jesu in the first 80 minutes of regulation, and in overtime.
The Spartans were literally one goal away from going back to the Class 4 Final Four for the second time in school history, but Cor Jesu’s Kelsey Doerr ruined that dream.
Doerr scored a goal off of a corner kick at the 91-minute mark, to lift Cor Jesu to a 1-0 overtime victory in a Class 4 quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Cor Jesu Academy.
“Yes, It was a great game with a lot of shot opportunities both ways,” Howell Central coach Derek Phillips said. We some good and couldn’t put it in. It was one of those tight games where one goal was going to decide it and we couldn’t get it in and they did. ”
Neither team was able to punch in a goal in the opening half of play as Howell Central senior goal keeper Sydney Chalcraft and Cor Jesu goalkeeper Sarah Robinson were simply amazing in the goal box area.
Chalcraft was steady through regulation time into the overtime session, shutting down the Chargers for 90 minutes without a goal.
“Sydney Chalcraft was tremendous for us in goal and was through the entire districts and playoffs, Phillips said. “She had three straight shutouts from districts through the sectionals and we wouldn’t have had a chance without her.”
The Spartans had chances to get on the board in the opening half but just missed on several good opportunities.
“We had some good chances in the first half and just missed on them,” Phillips said.
In the second half, Howell Central (18-7-2) had some more prime scoring chances, but struggled to find the back of the net.
“In the second half we had like four or five really good chances to score and they just couldn’t quite get in,” Phillips said.
Howell Central’s best chance to score in the overtime, came nine minutes into the extra session, when Emma Farley barely missed scoring on a breakaway as Farley’s shot went just wide of the goal.
“Emma Farley had a partial breakaway and she just missed on the shot,” Phillips said.
A couple of minutes later, Doerr scored off the corner kick and the Spartans dream of back-to-back state tournament appearances came to a painful end.
“Sidney made a great save on the initial shot and then it was tipped or bumped by somebody and just went in,” Phillips said. “It was a tough way to end it but the girls played a great game.”
While the postseason may be over for Howell Central this spring, the Spartans figure to be a force again next season. Although five seniors including Chalcraft and Farley graduate, the cupboard will be far from bare.
A solid junior class led by midfielder Bailey Beeler, along with some freshmen and sophomores will give the Spartans a younger, yet strong nucleus.
“I think we have definitely established a nice little tradition here at Howell Central the past few years, winning 24 games and going to state last year, and winning 18 games this year and making the quarterfinals,” Phillips said. “The program is really evolving and the bar has been set now and hopefully these younger players coming up keep adding to that tradition.”