By Ryan Kaczmarski
It took the regular 80 minutes, plus a first 15-minute overtime period and almost two minutes of the second 15-minute overtime, but the Rocky River girls soccer team defeated Holy Name 3-2 for the Division II district championship.
Just under two minutes into the second overtime, Pirates’ sophomore Jillian Krebs struck a near-perfect corner kick that Abby Elinsky headed past the Holy Name goalkeeper to win it for Rocky River.
“I was just waiting for the opportunity,” Elinsky said. “Before the kick, I was telling myself, ‘This is my chance. I have to sink this, or whatever happens, happens.’ But I didn’t want it to go down that way.
“Corner kicks…I love them,” she added. “It’s a great way to score, and I love to head the ball. I was on top of it and I knew what had to be done to get this game in our favor and to prove that we wanted it more.”
“I went up to the line and I told myself, ‘I have a good kick, someone scores on it and we’re done. Don’t mess up!’” Krebs said. “I could tell where (the ball) was going, and I was just hoping that (Elinsky) finishes it, and I knew she would.”
Rocky River head coach Patrick Hopkins knew going into the game that Holy Name would not go down easy.
“It was an exciting game, but it was a long game,” Hopkins said. “I told the girls before the game started, ‘It’s going to take more than one goal to win tonight. Everyone wants that first goal. If we get that first goal, it will alleviate a lot of the pressure.’”
Rocky River did get the first goal. It came off the foot of captain Grace Bennett (assisted by captain Hallie McCue) with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half of regulation time. Four minutes later, Holy Name freshman Sarah Krause tied it up to make the score 1-1 going into the half.
The second half went much the same way as the first, with the Pirates taking the lead early, on an Elinsky goal with 33:49 left in regulation, and five minutes later, Krause got another goal past the Pirates goalkeeper, Sara Connelly, to tie it up at 2-2.
Connelly made 16 saves in the game against a quick and relentless Green Wave attack, and was the reason that the Pirates had the chance for the victory in the second overtime period.
“(The game) was so crazy,” Connelly said. “I just had to keep going, because I didn’t know what else to do. I don’t even know what to say right now.”
Connelly made back-to-back saves on the same attack, right before the corner kick try.
“I just knew I had to save them or else we would be done,” she said. “I just gave it my all and sacrificed everything.”
The Pirates played last night against Walsh Jesuit, with the winner going on to play in the regional finals Saturday at Brecksville High School at 3 p.m.