Big kicks seem to run in Lauren Tondl’s family.
The Omaha Marian junior connected on a pair of free kicks to push the top-ranked Crusaders to a 2-1 win over No. 5 Lincoln Southwest in the first round of the state soccer tournament at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium.
Tondl is the younger sister of Jackie Tondl, last year’s Nebraska player of the year and an All-SEC freshman pick this year who had a knack for scoring goals on set pieces. Jackie, now at Texas A&M, netted 11 as a full-time defender during her senior year.
“We’ve both just always taken those kicks,” Lauren Tondl said. “It’s something we practiced quite a bit.”
Just more than 10 minutes after Baleigh Miller put Southwest up by bodying in a corner kick in the 26th minute, Tondl got her first opportunity.
Her free kick came from about 10 yards outside the box near the left sideline. The right-footed shot hooked late and found a place inside the near post for the equalizer.
“Just trying to get the ball close,” Tondl said of her strike. “There was a defender and the keeper there and it got by them somehow.”
Tondl’s second score came less than eight minutes into the second half on a free kick with much less angle. The ball was spotted about 25 yards from the goal, nearly straight on.
The left-footed boot made its way over a wall of defenders and stayed high above the hands of Southwest keeper Megan Hastings.
The Crusaders avenged a 2-0 district final loss to the Silver Hawks — Marian’s first loss and first goals allowed this season.
“Today they were ready to play,” Southwest coach Thomas Nettleton said. “State tournament time. They have 11 titles for a reason. This is what they do. When they show up to the state tournament, this is natural to them.”
Tondl said she and her teammates were excited about the chance to play Southwest again despite playing without leading scorer Faith Carter, who was hit with a red card in the district match.
Marian coach Ed Dudley said two other starters were dinged up during Thursday’s showdown, so getting Carter back for Saturday’s semifinal against No. 3 Millard West would be important.
Unlike the first meeting, Marian pushed back when it got down.
“I think it is tough for anybody to beat somebody twice,” Dudley said. “Maybe a slight advantage to us. But this game could have gone either way.”
Lincoln Southwest (13-6).......................1 0 — 1
Omaha Marian (13-1) ..........................1 1 — 2
Goals: LSW, Baleigh Miller; OM, Lauren Tondl 2.
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