EHS upsets Vianney in sectionals bout


Allison Rhine

The Wildcats celebrate with their fans after defeating Vianney in penalty kicks, Nov. 12.

The EHS soccer team took on the Vianney Golden Griffins in their first sectionals game, Nov. 12.

The first half of the game was controlled by Vianney, despite the game remaining scoreless into halftime.

“Vianney’s good,” Mr. Gary Schneider, head coach, said. “They were able to keep the ball because they are an excellent team.”

Vianney continued to get many opportunities in the second half, the biggest threat coming with 24:07 left when a Vianney shot went just over the crossbar.

“All of those shots were very stressful,” Sam Peterson, goalie, said. “I knew that they could break through at any time, but to do that they would have to go through me. I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

The Wildcats kept the game scoreless at the end of regulation to force overtime for the third game in a row.

“Our experience in that situation definetly helped,” Kyle Haller, midfield, said. “I think we kind of perfected our game plan in overtime.”

Just five minutes into the first overtime Vianney had their best chance of the game as the shot clanked off of the crossbar leading to a collective sigh of relief from the EHS bench.

“I was thinking that it could be the end,” Coach Schneider said. “We were going to fight to the end no matter what, but it was good to get that break.”

The Wildcats survived a last-minute surge from the Griffins, who had multiple corner kicks and shots on goal in the final minute but were repeatedly turned away by Peterson.

“Sam Peterson is the reason why we keep doing what we’re doing,” Coach Schneider said. “He is the leader of the defense.”

Heading into the second overtime, EHS seemed to gain some momentum and control the ball much more effectively.

“I think Vianney got tired,” Coach Schneider said. “We smelled blood and were able to get some really good opportunities in the second overtime.”

Despite more opportunities in the second overtime, the Wildcats couldn’t convert and headed into penalty kicks to decide the winner.

“I’m not going to say that we were confident,” Coach Schneider said. “However, we had the same kickers as we did in the win last week so we felt pretty good.”

The Wildcats, as the away team, shot first in penalties.

Dan Eberle, midfield, shot first and buried it in the bottom right corner to put the pressure on Vianney’s first shooter to answer, which he did.

Justin Armfield, forward, was up next and missed wide of the net to the left and was visibly upset, holding his head in his hands.

However, Vianney’s next shooter also missed wide, which kept it tied heading to the third shooter.

Kyle Gardner, forward, shot third for the Wildcats and got it just over the goaltender to put EHS up 2-1 in penalties.

Peterson stepped in front of the net, with a chance to make it very difficult for Vianney to come back and win.  The shot was on a line towards the back of the net, but Peterson dove and deflected the ball safely away from the goal.

“Sam’s been great all year,” Haller said. “He’s saved plenty of penalty kicks, but he came up big for us there.”

Haller took the fourth shot for the Wildcats and put it right down the middle, forcing Vianney to make their next shot to continue the penalty kicks.

Vianney’s final shooter missed wide, giving EHS the victory.

“It felt amazing,” Peterson said. “There’s no better feeling.”

The Wildcats victory seemed unlikely as Vianney had defeated EHS twice prior to the game, 3-2 and 3-0.

“It’s really hard to beat a good team three times,” Coach Schneider said. “We’re a pretty good team.”

The next game for the Wildcats is on the road in a state quarterfinal matchup at SLUH this Saturday, Nov. 16.