District soccer: Land O'Lakes, Hudson set for final
HUDSON – The scorelines were similar but the doubt level of the outcomes was anything but. Top-seeded Land O’Lakes (18-1-2) completely controlled play in a 2-0 win over Fivay, while No. 3 seed Hudson earned a tightly-contested 1-0 defeat of Sunlake in the 3A-8 semis.
Hudson (11-7-1) will host Land O’ Lakes (18-1-2) for the district title Friday at 7 p.m. Wednesday’s victories assured both of a postseason berth.
Fivay goalie Sarah Finn was heroic, making a handful of improbable saves while Land O’Lakes was outshooting the Falcons 30-1. Fivay did not reach the Gators' penalty box until Nancy Hasemeier’s attempt with about one minute left.
But thanks to Finn and some brave defending by Emileigh Morissette, it was just 1-0 at halftime despite an 18-0 shot count. Natalie Abernathy’s chip shot from 20 yards beat Finn midway through the half.
Finn was helpless on the second goal, a Morghan Craven shot that deflected 20 feet off its initial path. Outside of that Finn parried away repeated quality chances, compiling 16 saves.
In the first semifinal, Hudson prevailed without leading scorer Brittany Cirnigliaro, who suffered a knee injury late in Monday’s 6-0 quarterfinal defeat of Anclote.
“That made us fight even harder. We needed to play for her,” said senior defender Rachel Deweerd, who did her part, producing the lone goal in the 57th minute.
In a play Deweerd said the Cobras practiced all week, except for the funky finish, Madison Harvey curled in a low corner kick from the left side. Deweerd managed to flick the ball with the outside of her right foot. Sunlake senior goalie Landon Carter, who made several alert plays late in the first half to keep the game scoreless, had no time to react.
The second-seeded Seahawks (10-5-2) outshot Hudson 10-1 the rest of the way, but Hudson goalie Allie Linderman had the answers, many on long efforts by 23-goal scorer Jeanine Sullivan. In the final minutes Sunlake pushed up standout defender Abby Morken and Linderman had to make a tough save on her.
Then, with a minute left, tremendous Hudson senior D Cassidy Rux and Sunlake's Kailee Raberge (16 goals) made contact at the same time. The ball flew 30 feet in the air, Linderman bobbled it but no Seahawk was there.
“It was stressful,” Rux said. “We had some sketchy moments there at the end. Sunlake is a great team and they were pushing us real hard.” Elena Guy, Bella Aviolla and Harvey all provided steady forces on defense as well.
Sunlake won the regular-season meeting 3-2, dropping the Cobras to 3-6 at the time, but they’ve gone 8-1-1 since. The Seahawks nearly scored early on when Riley Morrison headed Isabelle Vasquez’s perfect corner kick wide. Hudson began to put together some pretty passing combinations, with Kennedy Schoonover a creative force in the midfield all night.
Hudson coach Stephen Jones was uncertain if Cirnigliaro, a senior with 11 goals and 10 assists, would return this postseason. Land O’Lakes has similar concerns for its leader, Sydny Nasello, who continues to be out with a hip problem.