The Norfolk Lutheran/Norfolk Catholic girls soccer team may have let the early season rest prescribed by coach Chad Miller carry into the first half of its season-opener with Schuyler at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday.
But after the Warriors scored a quick goal in the second half to break a scoreless tie, the Eagles awoke from their weekend siesta.
"We had a JV game on Friday. We played that and had Saturday and Sunday off, and I think it was just a slow start coming off two days of rest," Miller said. "I think it was probably two days of sitting around and hanging out, and then you come out and have a game right away against a very good Schuyler team. But they hung in there and kept going. They fought, and that's a good sign."
Trailing 1-0 despite controlling the ball for the majority of the second half, Kristin Maguire swung the pendulum completely in the Eagles' favor with a goal in the 68th minute. Taking a perfectly placed cross from Maddie Love, who beat the Warrior defense down the sideline, Maguire's one-timer ignited an 9-3 edge in shots on goal over the remainder of regulation and in overtime.
LHNE/NC appeared it would have a chance to win in the final seconds of regulation, but Maguire was unable to launch a breakaway shot before time expired.
Thanks to Love's work against the backline of the Schuyler defense, the missed opportunity proved to be non-detrimental.
In the seventh minute of extra time, Love connected from the middle of the box to put Lutheran High up 2-1. Love's shot came after Maguire's attempt to score on a precision lob from Shae Wolfe on a corner kick ricocheted off the leg of a Warrior defender. Stepping into the bounce, Love found the back of the net over the outstretched arms of Schuyler goalkeeper Tonya Marxsen.
Twenty-two minutes later, Love placed another cross pass near the back post from the near the left baseline. Crashing the net from the opposite side, junior Sara Kraenow filled the open corner of the net that was created when Marxsen followed Love's pass across the goal.
"Maddie Love is -- I don't even have a word to describe what she does for the team. If we can get her the ball, she's strong, she's fast and she's smart. She's got everything we need, but it takes all of us to get her the ball. And when we get her the ball and she can get it across, everybody knows where to be," Miller said. "We have the philosophy that we don't want to play not to lose; we want to play to win. So we don't drop back into defensive formations and let them come at us. We want to keep the pressure on."
Defensively, the Eagles didn't give Schuyler many chances to set its offense after the Warriors opened with an 8-2 edge in shots. Freshman goalkeeper Peyton Kerkman finished with eight keeper saves behind the defense, including a diving stop when Karla Ortiz got behind the LHNE/NC defense shorty after the Warriors had taken the initial lead.
Schuyler, which finished with a 21-14 advantage in shots on goal, entered Monday's contest with a pair of games already under its belt. The Warriors took a 1-0 loss to Class A Omaha South last Tuesday before falling 3-0 to Omaha Gross on Thursday.
"At halftime, I felt like we had hung in there but knew we weren't playing up to our full potential," Miller said. "The girls really fought at the end (of regulation) to get the goal and, in overtime, it seemed like they had a whole new energy. And they played the game that we want to play, and I was very happy with that."
Schuyler (0-3) .......................... 0 1 0 - 1
LHNE/NC (1-0) ......................... 0 1 2 - 3
Goals: (SCH) Haylee Korth; (LHNE) Kristin Maguire, Maddie Love, Sara Kraenow. Assists: (SCH) Karla Ortiz; (LHNE) Love, 2.