Schalmont soccer finds way to win another sectional title

Adversity can't stop Sabres
Schalmont players celebrate after winning the Section II Class B girls' soccer championship Saturday in Stillwater.
Schalmont players celebrate after winning the Section II Class B girls' soccer championship Saturday in Stillwater.

In a season filled with adversity for the Schalmont girls’ soccer team, Saturday’s Section II Class B girls’ soccer championship match became just another opportunity for the Sabres to demonstrate their mettle.

“This game, it pretty much summed up our year,” Schalmont head coach Alaina Resue said. “From injuries happening early, then another one popping up, and another one popping up — and all of our girls fighting through it.”

Schalmont prevailed 3-0 against Catholic Central to win its fifth area championship in the last six seasons, as the Sabres overcame three separate in-game injuries including one that ended senior captain Alexis Horwedel’s match midway through the first half.

Horwedel’s injury was sustained on a head-to-head collision with Catholic Central freshman Emily Drake, an instance which left Horwedel bleeding from above her right eye and eventually forced her to leave Warrior Park for a hospital. Meanwhile, Schalmont freshman star Davia Rossi was already in a hospital Saturday as she continues to receive treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and junior star Molly Older was on the sideline still working back from a torn ACL suffered in the offseason.

“We all just had to keep giving our 100 percent,” Schalmont senior Sydnee Metzold said. “We just kept playing for Davia, for Alexis, for Molly — for all the people who couldn’t be on the field.”

Metzold helped get the scoring started for Schalmont (17-1-1, No. 1) against Catholic Central (14-3-2, No. 3), as she found sophomore Kasey Dillenbeck in the 31st minute for a goal. On the play, Metzold had an angle for a shot of her own, but instead found her teammate.

“She was more open,” Metzold said of Dillenbeck. “It’s all about looking for each other and playing as a team.”

With the chance for the go-ahead goal, Dillenbeck said she just tried to keep things simple.

“I really wasn’t thinking about anything. I just kicked the ball, and that was it,” Dillenbeck said.

Dillenbeck scored just as Horwedel was starting to leave the facility. The sophomore said it was tough for the Sabres to refocus after losing Horwedel from the lineup.

“Alexis is our captain,” Dillenbeck said. “She’s the one that keeps us going.”

But the goal went a long way in terms of steadying the Sabres. Sophomore Vanessa Wainwright, who briefly left the game early in the first half with a leg injury of her own, said Dillenbeck’s score calmed the team.

Later in the match, Schalmont senior Kayla Longo also left with an injury. Her exit, though, came right around when the Sabres started to pull away from Catholic Central. Freshman Sofia Cassano scored in the 66th minute to put Schalmont up 2-0, while sophomore Halie Markle scored in the 79th minute off an assist from sophomore Kaylie Squires to finish the game’s scoring.

As the match’s final seconds counted down, Resue placed a phone call to Horwedel to let her know Schalmont’s season will continue Tuesday with a match against Section III’s Westhill at Fulton High School. Not long after that call, Resue received a text message from Rossi reacting to the championship win. The freshman had been at Schalmont’s semifinal win, and Resue said the Sabres had wanted to make sure she’d have another chance next week to come watch her team play.

“Knowing [Rossi] wasn’t going to be here — and knowing how much she wanted to be here — made it that much more important that we could get to the next game so she can be there,” Resue said.

Schalmont and Catholic Central had played twice this season before Saturday’s final. Schalmont defeated Catholic Central 4-2 when the teams played in mid-October, while the teams tied 1-1 in September.

Schalmont, the reigning Class B state champion, has been ranked No. 1 in the state poll all season despite the health-related issues it has faced. Resue said the way her team has continued to push forward has made every win, especially Saturday’s, even sweeter this season.

“That’s what we’ve been all about all year,” Resue said, “and that’s what makes this so special.”

Categories: High School Sports, News, Sports

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