UNION TOWNSHIP | After a handball violation in the 44th minute, Wheeler's Alexa Fratzke was awarded a penalty kick.
Edging the ball past Andrean goalkeeper Maddie Mandich, Fratzke scored the only goal of the night, and helped give Wheeler a 1-0 win and the school's first girls soccer sectional title.
“It’s an amazing feeling (winning sectional),” Fratzke said. “The team deserved it, we worked hard all year and we got it.
“I was thinking,’Don’t miss the shot.' This was a huge game, and we knew it was going to be hard. (Andrean) played a very good game as well, we just ended up coming out on top. Things happen like that.”
Andrean (7-8-9) and Wheeler (17-2) combined for five yellow cards, and there were many players pushing and shoving on the field.
“It’s as much as a war you’re going to see on a soccer field at night with neither team willing to budge an inch out here,” Wheeler coach Bryan Murray said. “There were a lot of cards, but a lot of people got booked. I know that both teams feel that some things went against us when we wanted it to go the opposite way.”
The 59ers out shot the Bearcats 5-4, and Andrean had many opportunities in the second half to score, especially in the last 10 minutes of play.
With eight minutes left, a free kick by Liz Krlich from 20 yards out caused the ball to meet a mob of Andrean and Wheeler players. Keeper Kim Moskovich made the save, and made a similar save with two minutes remaining on another kick by Krilich that dropped short of the goal.
“It was stressful,” Moskovich said of playing in the last few minutes. “I was like, ‘We have to win, I can’t mess up.' I had to keep paying attention to the ball and make sure nothing went through.”
“It was frustrating. If you look at possession, we clearly had it 70-30,” Andrean coach Tony Pagorek said. “I don’t think anyone can deny how much pressure we had. It absolutely stinks to have it come down to losing on a penalty kick when a team isn’t even pressuring you. No one can deny that, everyone here knows that the game was clearly in our control and we came up short in the finish.”