Having lost eight of last season’s top-nine point producers, Benet has needed some new scorers to step up. But when Monday’s East Suburban Catholic showdown was over, it was a familiar Redwing stealing the spotlight.
Amanda Kaiser, that lone scorer left from last year’s point chart, just one week back from injury, came through with a game-winning breakaway goal with 3:17 remaining in the last of two five-minute overtime sessions. The senior Redwing’s first goal of 2013 lifted Benet to a 3-2 victory over defending ESCC champ Nazareth.
Considering the Roadrunners won last year’s crown going 7-0-2 with Benet and Carmel sharing second at 7-1-1, the importance of the win wasn’t lost on anyone.
“This was so very, very crucial with us coming off a lost to Carmel so that we could stay in the conference race,” explained co-captain Meaghan O’Hara, who had put the Redwings ahead 2-1 in the second half but missed on a chance to make it 3-1.
“At first I was worried I might have heard an offside whistle, but then I kept attacking, telling myself not to miss,” Kaiser said in regard to her match-winning 12-yarder from left of center inside the right post. “The main thing was to keep it on the ground, but once it was off my foot, I knew it was good.”
Fellow senior Lindsy Kendrick had the big assist with the through ball that sent Kaiser on her way to the goal.
“This was especially important with such a young team, but I thought we took over in the last overtime and the girls were determined to win,” Benet coach Bob Gros added. “Amanda’s only been back a week and she’s still a little rusty, but when the pressure was on, she finished strong sliding that ball past their keeper.”
Benet (6-1-1, 2-1-0) took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute when Claire Elenteny assisted on Michelle Morefield’s team-high sixth goal of the year. However, Nazareth (5-2-0, 2-1-0) got the equalizer fiver minutes later when a pass toward the net by Maureen Culligan turned into a goal by bouncing past a Redwing defender and starting keeper Christina Stopka.
Ellie Bumpus fed O’Hara for a 10-yarder from the middle at 46:29, but that lead didn’t hold for long. Nazareth’s Haley Renehan blasted a 28-yarder that caromed off the crossbar and off the back of second-half goalie Emma Hlavin.