Ishmael Nails OT Winner for Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Soccer Lady Hornets
Sends CHS to Thursday’s home district final vs. Maryville in 92nd minute Tuesday
By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Having far the better of the play, although not quite being dominant, throughout the evening, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS’ soccer Lady Hornets still stood one instant from a disheartening end to their fine 2021 season, thanks to being in a scoreless deadlock still more than 10 minutes into overtime Tuesday.
A long, late evening, due to more than an hour-long lightning delay at halftime of the preceding Maryville 8-0 victory over Excelsior Springs, was extended even farther by the failure of either the Lady Hornets or Savannah Lady Savages to get the ball in the net.
Finally, however, after numerous near-misses of their own and a close call or two by Savannah, the Lady Hornets erupted with joy after 92:26 of play when CHS senior Allison Ishmael sneaked a high 25-yards shot from the middle of the pitch just over the outstretched arms and hands of Savannah freshman goalkeeper Lillyana Scheidegger and just under the crossbar for a match-deciding and CHS-season-extending goal.
“Amazing job by all 14 girls that played tonight,” Chillicothe first-year head coach Jimmy Chapman reflected after his squad earned a crack at the Class 2 District 8 championship on its home turf.
“From start to finish, we attacked with amazing intensity. Words can’t describe how proud I am of this team.”
That title match, pairing Chapman’s second-seeded squad against impressive top seed Maryville, is set for Thursday (May 20) at 6 p.m. at CHS’ Jerry Litton Memorial Stadium II.
The teams met only last week with MHS claiming a 5-1 decision at home, seizing a 4-0 lead in the first half.
Tuesday’s thriller had seen the host Lady Hornets swarm the Savannah defense and Scheidegger time and time and time again from the match’s first 70 seconds on, but always have their scoring attempts either slightly misfire or be turned away by the goalkeeper, her teammates, or the goalpost or crossbar.
In the end, though, while Ishmael triggered a perfectly-measured shot, the ball was there for her right foot to drive it only because of a misfire by Savannah.
Following the scoreless regulation time, which in its last five minutes saw each side’s star player come within perhaps inches of delivering the first goal, CHS quickly pressure the Savannah defense and generate multiple Grade-A scoring chances in the 15-minutes sudden-victory overtime period.
About 90 seconds in, Ishmael tried for her ninth goal of the season with another try from about 25 yards, only to have Scheidegger dive and stop it.
Although the ball spent most of its time in Chillicothe’s attacking end of Bob Fairchild Field, it never could be sent across the goal line within the frame of the SHS goal.
Just over 10 minutes into extra time, CHS junior forward Lucy Reeter fired a corner kick from the offensive left side which carried across the goalmouth right to teammate Sophia Luetticke. With perfect timing, the junior back headed the ball hard and toward the left portion of the SHS goal a few yards inside the goalpost and beyond the netminder’s reach, only to see one of multiple Lady Savages positioned there reply with a header of her own to knock the ball away.
Gaining control of the ball, Savannah directed it up toward midfield, but Chillicothe quickly controlled it short of midfield, leading to a counterattack that produced a shooting opportunity for freshman Delanie Kieffer from the right side.
Her ground-hugger from about 20 yards was pulled toward the far side of the net and slid past Scheidegger, only to end up being angled a few yards wide of the right goalpost – another CHS near-miss.
The errant try meant a goal kick for Savannah, often a mundane play in the sport. However, perhaps owing to fatigue, this one wasn’t.
As the Lady Savages’ goalkeeper attempted to drive the ball well upfield, it carried only about 25-30 yards where a SHS player tried to control it. Instead, the ball caromed away from her toward the middle, right toward Ishmael, Chillicothe’s third-leading goal scorer on the season.
Denied from about the same distance on the OT’s first good scoring chance, Ishmael, with no one very close to her, settled the ball and fired her shot. Although its initial trajectory seemed to have it destined to sail over the goal, the Lady Hornet had put just the right pace on it for its downward arc to get it below the crossbar just in time to end the match.
While Chillicothe (15-7) dominated the time of possession and had a consistent territorial advantage, Savannah and its speedy center forward Corinne Stewart were a threat to turn any CHS lapse into a tally all night.
The closest that came to happening was in the final three minutes of regulation time.
After Reeter unleashed a hard, high drive on a direct free kick from 36 yards, only to see it drill the junction of the left goalpost and crossbar and ricochet away with just under five minutes on the clock, the lanky, long-striding Stewart had loped and weaved her way from well back on the Savannah defensive end to just past the mid-point of the Lady Savages’ offensive end.
From very close to the same place from where Ishmael eventually scored, Stewart zipped a strong, low, right-footed shot toward the Chillicothe goal, perhaps two or three feet off the artificial turf. Halfway to the net, it seemed destined to break the scoring ice and, potentially, the hosts’ hearts with under three minutes to go.
However, Lady Hornets junior goalkeeper Allie Italiano, daughter of an early 2000s CHS graduate who had moved back to town just after the 2020-21 school year began, displayed her athleticism by taking several steps to her right before diving, head-long, through the air to get her hands on the ball just before it reached the net and redirect it wide for a season-saving stop.
Although Chillicothe continued to push the play in the last two minutes, there’d be no reward, leading to the first 15-minutes overtime segment (regular-season overtime periods are only 10 minutes).
There, the CHS chances continued to mount – a conservative estimate by press box observers was that the Lady Hornets might have had upwards of 30 scoring threats in the 92-plus minutes, many of which produced shots on frame, but also others, yet the scoreboard continued to display doughnuts until Ishmael nailed her winner.
Even before Reeter rang the post in the final five minutes, she and other Lady Hornets had come with inches of giving Chillicothe the icebreaker.
Well past the mid-point of the 40-minutes second half, a hand ball violation on a SHS player barely outside her team’s “18” (penalty area) presented Chillicothe with a direct free kick from 20 yards. Reeter attempted to measure a shot off perfectly, as Ishmael ultimately succeeded in doing on her tally, but her right-footed airborne shot appeared to just nick the high side of the crossbar near the upper left corner, the same area she target on her late that drew heavy iron, before scooting on beyond the net and out of play.
Inside the final 10 minutes of the second half, Reeter, going wide to the right side with her dribble, hooked an accurate “cross” (crossing pass) into the area in front of the SHS goal. There a teammate got a foot on it, redirecting it past Scheidegger, who had moved out from her goal line a bit to try to catch Reeter’s pass. However, with the ball within a yard of crossing the goal line, a Lady Savage kicked it back toward her prone ’keeper a few yards away, who grabbed it.
That was somewhat similar to a CHS first-half scoring chance in which it got the ball past Savannah’s goalie, only to have her lunge back and cover it only inches from starting the scoring.
Additionally, once in each half a long, high Chillicothe shot toward the goal bounced over Scheidegger or nearly so. In the first half, when it did go over her, teammates managed to block a CHS shot out of the scramble right at the goal line. In the second half, the backpedaling goalkeeper managed to make contact with the ball with a swipe of her right hand before it then went wide of the right goalpost.
Tuesday’s first semifinal match had Maryville in front 5-0 at intermission when, as heavy, low clouds passing over Chillicothe, a lightning-detection device host school officials were monitoring registered an electric bolt.
That automatically triggered an initial 20-minutes delay, which stretched on to about three times that long with subsequent detections before the heaviest of the storm clouds passed.
When play resumed with the second half a couple of minutes before seven o’clock, Maryville took a while to regain its clear upper hand, but eventually did so and, with a flurry in the final 10 minutes, netted its 8-0 lead with a beautiful deflection goal in the 69th minute. That ended the match on the “mercy rule” just over 10 minutes early.