“We played a bit more defense than we wanted to, but we talk about how to play with a one-goal lead, how to play with a two-goal lead and how to play from behind,” said coach Rogan. “I just didn’t expect to play that much defense.”
Saratoga’s best chances to get on the scoreboard came late in the second half. In one instance, Nickles misplayed a ball near the right post as two Saratoga players crashed the goal. The Blue Streaks got a shot off, but it dribbled wide of the open net and went out of bounds. The other time, the ball got served into traffic in front of the Bethlehem goal, but the Lady Eagles defenders cleared it away.
“Obviously, it was a 110 percent effort from the beginning of the game to the very end,” said Dannehy. “Even with 30 seconds left, they were looking for a shot. That’s just the kind of kids I have.”
“We weren’t sure a two-goal lead would be enough because they kept coming, but we did a great job defensively,” said Olsen.
No. 2 Shen assumed early control of its semifinal game against No. 6 Shaker (6-9-4). Kristen Connors scored twice in the first 20 minutes to give the Plainswomen a 2-0 lead, and she added a third goal in the second half to seal the victory.
Shen and Bethlehem meet Wednesday at Stillwater High School for the Sectional title. Bethlehem defeated Shen in each of the past two Class AA title games, but the Plainswomen own a 1-0 regular season victory over the Lady Eagles this year.