CHESTERTON — Sometimes the ball just bounces your way.
Just ask Chesterton senior Courtney Krol.
In the final minutes of a second overtime, Krol gathered in a loose ball from nearly 50 yards out and ripped a right-footed volley that was somewhere between purposeful and prayer.
The shot sailed over everyone on the field and descended just in time to hit the back of the net with 2:59 left on the scoreboard.
The unconventional game-winner gave Krol and the Times No. 2 Trojans a 2-1 Duneland Athletic Conference overtime victory over No. 3 Valparaiso in dramatic fashion.
“Especially when it gets down to the last couple of minutes of overtime you really don’t want to go into (penalty kicks) and leave it up to that,” Krol said. “You have to take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you even if they’re long shots — figuratively and literally.”
Celebration ensued with the Trojans (2-3, 2-0) mobbing Krol on the field, while the Vikings (3-1-1, 1-1) were left without much they could have done differently. Valpo freshman goalkeeper Stella Cusson was too far off her line to be able to return in time to save the long-distance shot.
“As soon as (Krol) kicked it, we’re sitting on the bench going, ‘It could go in,’” Chesterton coach Jason Conway said. “And it … it did.”
Krol’s winner came following a regulation defined by frustrated offenses and stout defending across the field.
It wasn’t until the 54th minute that Chesterton’s Addy Joiner cashed in with the first score thanks to a relentless effort in transition. The freshman refused to give up her run in the 54th minute even after getting disposed by a pair of Valparaiso defenders near the outskirts of the goalie box.
As the two Vikings tried to clear the ball, Cusson stepped off her line to assist. As she did, Joiner regained possession and sent a volley over Cusson’s head and into the back of the net for the score.
For the next 20 minutes it appeared Joiner’s goal would decide the game until Valpo’ junior Janci Courtaney finished an equalizer from 18 yards out. Her right-footed shot from the right side of the field sailed over Trojan junior keeper Molly McLaughlin’s outstretched arms to ultimately force overtime.
Both teams managed dangerous chances in the extra time of the more-conventional variety only to see defenders get the better of both attacks.
“It was one of those Hail Mary’s,” Valpo coach Rob Cespedes said. “It went over the top and right in.”
As Krol walked off the field following a brief cool down run, her Chesterton teammates debated just how far out she was from the goal.
One pointed at the football field’s 35-yard line and swore it was from that spot. Another disagreed, saying she was sure it was beyond the 40-yard line.
Krol had no idea how far out she was. She didn’t care, either.
She got the result she wanted.
“You never know what can happen,” Krol said, pausing.
“That, for example.”