Kraft-y Freshman Scores Game-winner for Redhawks
Nov. 1, 2005
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - (Tuesday, November 1, 2005) If the catchphrase "better late than never" was never used in the Redhawks women's soccer locker room it definitely is now. For the Redhawks a goal by freshman Casey Kraft (St. Louis, MO/Nerinx Hall) with less than four minutes left in regulation gave the Redhawks a 1-0 win over Jacksonville State and propelled them into the semifinals of the 2005 O'Reilly Ohio Valley Conference Soccer Championships and a kept their chance of the program's first NCAA Tournament berth alive.
The No. 3 seed Redhawks (12-5-1) came out the aggressor against the No. 6 seed Gamecocks (8-8-2) in the two team's OVC Tournament Play-in game at Houck Stadium.
The Redhawks seemed to keep the ball on the Gamecocks side of the field most of the first half but were limited to only three shots including two shots on goal. The Redhawks best chance came at the 39:08 mark. Molli Beard (Libertyville, IL/Libertyville), fresh off the injured list, had a chance with a loose ball in the box but Gamecocks goalie Amanda Stephens quickly recovered to smother the Beard shot just inside of the goal line to thwart the Redhawks attempt and send both teams into the locker rooms at the half deadlocked at zero.
The Redhawks defense shutdown the Gamecock offense in the opening half allowing no shots.
The second half saw both teams pick up the offensive intensity as both became desperate ad the clocked ticked away. They knew that whoever scored first in regulation would more than likely win the game.
As the clocked ticked it seemed like both teams would head into overtime but Alaina Lacopo (Troy, IL/Triad) dribbled the ball into Gamecocks territory and after a couple of quick moves near the left of the box passed out to a trailing Kraft who boomed a 20-yard riser thru the hands of Stephens and into the left upper corner of the goal for the eventual game winner.
For Kraft it was her seventh goal of the season and her second-straight game with a goal. It was also her first career game-winning goal.
Lacopo picked up her team-high seventh assist of the season, tying her total from last year for second on the school's single season list. For her career she has 14 assists which ranks third all-time.
The Redhawks out-shot the Gamecocks 7-4 but the Gamecocks held the upper hand in corner kicks, 4-0. But the Redhawks defense, led by Mary Kalinowski (St. Louis, MO/Oakville), Erin Hartmann (Jackson, MO/Jackson), Jessica Kaiz (Arlington Heights, IL/Buffalo Grove) and Blair Schuppan (St. Louis, MO/Nerinx Hall), made it difficult for the Gamecocks from getting a clear look or shot.
Goalkeeper Lindsay Pickering (St. Charles, MO/St. Charles West) was not challenged throughout the game making only one save as she picked up her 11th shutout of the season and third-straight shutout.
Pickering won her 13th game of the season, second on the school's single season charts and lowered her goals against average to 0.56.
Stephens received the loss and finished the season with a record of 2-6-1.
Opponents have not scored on the Redhawks in 277:45 minutes of play.
The win marked the second-straight game and third game this season the Redhawks have scored the eventual game winner after the 85:00 minute mark of regulation.
The Gamecocks were lead offensively by Joanna McCaughey who finished with two shots and the lone Gamecock shot on goal.
The Redhawks now move on to Charleston, Illinois to face Tournament host and No. 2 seed Eastern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 4 at 10:00 a.m. for the chance to play in the OVC Championship Game and the NCAA berth on Sunday, Nov. 6. The Championship game will be the first OVC Championship to be televised on ESPNU this season.