DEMOTTE | It was all about foot speed for Covenant Christian in Saturday’s home match against Marquette Catholic.
The Knights' Justin Handtke took a pass from Justin Dahm, outraced the defender and found the back of the net in the waning seconds for the game-winning goal. It lifted the Knights (1-0) to a 3-2 win over the Blazers, Class A regional finalist a year ago.
“We have one of the fastest players in all of Northwest Indiana in Justin Handtke,” Covenant Christian coach Andrew Dunham said. “He scored the goal with 13 seconds left, and that’s pretty remarkable.”
It gave the Knights a sweep of the Blazers after they won the girls game 3-0.
“My heart is beating a little too fast,” Dunham said. “Anytime you give up a two-goal lead, you’re never going to be happy with that.
“But we picked up one at the end, and I’m just proud of my guys for fighting real hard, all 80 minutes of it.”
It was Handtke’s second goal of the game, and he said it was a great pass over the top by Dahm for the game-winner.
“The keeper didn’t come out, so I dribbled in as far as I could and placed it,” he said.
Dahm said he was just trying to get the ball to Handtke’s feet.
“We know we’re faster than them, so we were just getting it in front of our players toward the goalie,” he said.
Handtke’s heroics stopped a second-half surge by the Blazers (1-1), who got two goals from Will Connelly to knot the game at 2-2 with 22:33 left in the game.
“We just let up,” Marquette assistant coach John Fettig said. “It’s very frustrating because, for the most part, we had great possession all game long.”
In the girls game, junior Hannah Lins scored two goals in the first half to stake the Knights (1-0) to a 2-0 lead. Sophia Van Keppel slipped past a defender and scored an unassisted goal with 32:10 for an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
Lins said the third goal gave the team a boost.
“We got settled down a lot because it’s hard when we’re up two, we get too comfortable,” she said. “We could play more defensive and conserve energy.”
Van Keppel finished with a goal and an assist.
Knights coach Aaron de Jager was pleased to get the game-opening win for his young squad.
“I’ve got a lot of rookies this year, and everyone is stepping up and playing very well,” he said. “They’re coming together as a team.”