GIRLS SOCCER: Rochester finds a little magic, advances with OT victory over Romeo

| May 26, 2022 | Comments (0)




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ROMEO – Sometimes to advance in a state tournament setting one needs to find a little bit of magic in dramatic fashion. That sure happened for Rochester senior Elizabeth Jewell Thursday night.

The forward scored with 46 seconds left in the second 10-minute overtime session – or the 100th minute – to lift the unbeaten and fifth-ranked Falcons to a dramatic 2-1 win over defending district champion Romeo in a Division 1 pre-district contest.

It was Jewell’s fifth goal of the season and none bigger than Thursday’s heroic shot.

“Yes. This was my biggest (goal),” smiled Jewell. “I think Leila (Lanier) sent the ball high and I just knew I had to get everything on it because it’s the last minute of the game and I’m fighting the whole time. I think I knut-megged the center back and I put it past the goalie. It all happened so fast I couldn’t even tell you what foot (the shot) was with (on the game-winner).”

Rochester (13-0-4) advances and survived to play another day. The Falcons will face Rochester Adams (13-4-2) next week in the district semifinals at a date and time yet to be finalized.

“We never got past the first game of districts in my years here and we wanted to do that this year,” added Jewell.

Jewell picked up a pass from junior Leila Lanier and buried her close-range shot inside the box to help Rochester overcome an early 1-0 deficit and send the Falcons into the next round.

Romeo only attempted two shots on frame in the first half but was able to take an early 1-0 advantage. Olivia Howes picked up a s teal before cashing in for a breakaway goal in the ninth minute.

The lead stood until the second half. Junior Natalie Rayce drilled a 29-yard free kick that sailed just under the crossbar to knot the game at 1-1 with 31:05 left in regulation.

“Like I said sometimes you get a little fortunate, get a little bounce and the ball is in the back of the net,” said Rochester coach Doug Steinard. “A senior captain (steps up), scores a big goal in a big game. I told the girls after the game that it wasn’t a great game but all that matters is (that in the state tournament) you score more goals than the other team.”

Both teams had chances late in regulation and overtimes, including Rochester misfiring on a breakaway in the second overtime period moments before the game-winner.

Freshman Alice Max notched the win between the pipes with three saves, including punching away a free kick late in regulation.

The Falcons have outscored the opposition 52-14 this season and have rarely trailed this season. Rochester found a way to rally back despite being down early.

“We just talked about spacing and how they were good on the counter. We sort of had a lot of the ball but nothing was spectacular. We had a lot of half-chances,” noted Steinard, whose program captured its first pre-district win in several years. “We didn’t really test the goalkeeper (until the first goal). In the second half we settled in a little bit and we got a nice free kick out of Natalie Rayce which put some energy back in the game for us.”

Rochester ended up with a 15-8 overall shots edge, including 11-3 with shots on frame, and also carried a 7-3 differential on cornerkicks. The Falcons entered the state tournament unbeaten for the first time since 2007, a year they finished 21-1-2 and as the Division 1 state runner-up.

Romeo (7-7-4) sprung a pair of upsets last season to win its first district championship. The Bulldogs couldn’t find the same magic as last year’s run. This year’s district features seven teams that all finished the regular season above five-hundred.

“We came out with the energy we needed. We felt we came out with the right plan and I think it worked until there was around (46) seconds left in the game,” said Romeo coach Trevor Foster. “Sometimes the bounces don’t go your way and sometimes the other team just makes a play. Rochester made a couple of important plays at the right minute and the last play. I couldn’t be more happier with our team. We came out against what is widely-considered or potentially the No. 1 team in the state, at least at times this year – a team that is undefeated. They played their hearts out and played according to the plan. We were right there.”




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