The Brookfield East girls came into their Greater Metro Conference game against crosstown rival Brookfield Central with several key injuries. It got worse when junior all-conference goalkeeper Erin Wachowiak was lost for the rest of the season with a head injury before the game May 8.
It got worse when the Lancers jumped off to a 2-0 lead, but the Spartans pulled out a thrilling 2-2 tie in double overtime against the conference-leading Lancers.
East started freshman Rachel Novak in goal and she responded by making several great saves throughout the game.
"Rachel did a great job for her first varsity game," East coach Matt Schroeder said. "She came up with some huge saves and matured immensely as the game went on."
Leadership from the back
Throughout the first half the Lancers applied pressure on the undermanned Spartans but East was able to respond with strong play from their defense.
"Lauren Knudsen and Andi Moyer are one of the strongest back pairs in the area," Schroeder said. "Their leadership from the back is invaluable. Lauren is such a tough kid and Andi is so good in the one-on-one match ups."
However the Lancers found the goal in the 38th minute of the first half when junior Sarah Fotsch scored off a free kick, bending it around the defensive wall and past the outstretched hands of Novak, giving Central a 1-0 lead at intermission.
In the second half at the 64th-minute mark, Central scored again off a free kick, when junior midfielder Sierra High hit a bullet from 30 yards out that was able to find the back of the net.
Down 2-0 with less than 15 minutes to go in the game, the Spartans were in desperate need of a spark. They got it in the span of 45 seconds.
First junior forward Kirsty Lein created a turnover at midfield and sent a great pass up field that senior captain Taylor Swittel was able to control. She alluded the defense and put it past Lancers goalkeeper Rachel Oleson to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Then less than a minute later at the 67th-minute mark, freshman Kellie Goodman found Swittel in the box, and she put in the net to make the score 2-2.
Schroeder was impressed with his team's production.
"Kirsty and Kellie both did well to find Taylor up top," he said. "That was a great example of what momentum can do for you. In a short amount of time Taylor changed that game. What was even more impressive was this was her first game back since her concussion."
Pressuring East defense
The intensity of the game greatly increased as Central put immense pressure on Novak and the East defense. Each time Novak responded with one great save after another. In the last 20 seconds of regulation, the Lancers thought they had the win, when there was an opening on the right side of the goal. However, East defender Alyssa Carter stepped back and punched the ball away as time expired.
Both teams had token chances in the two overtimes but neither team could score, ending the game in a 2-2 tie.
"I told the girls before the game, it doesn't matter who's playing or who's not playing for BE," Central coach Jason Burdge said. "This game will be won by the team with the most heart.
"I thought we kept BE on their heels for the majority of the game. We had a lot of quality chances to put the game away. We just couldn't find the back of the net. I have to give credit to their coaching staff and their back line. They did a great job. BE just finished on the chances that we gave them and we didn't."
Schroeder was pleased with the match, of course, despite the tie.
"We say it every year, 'No matter who is supposed to win, you never know what's going to happen in East vs. Central,' " Schroeder said. "In my three years here, these have been the three most exciting games I've been a part of."
- Ron Knudsen, correspondent
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