September 28, 2007

Neither mud nor Manual a match for Mercy


Manual’s rain-drenched field handed Mercy an easy metaphor for their slow start on Thursday, when the Crimsons scored in the third minute of the teams’ pivotal district game.

“We described it as being stuck in the mud,” Mercy senior Amy Wimsatt said.

And Mercy coach Kelly Setser was concerned that the Jaguars might not get out of it.

“(Manual) has good stick skills, good quickness, and that was a really nice goal,” she said. “I thought, ‘Yikes!’ It made me nervous.”

But Wimsatt, sophomore Erin Schneidtmiller and the rest of the Jaguars eventually unstuck themselves, scoring three goals over the last 34 minutes to win 3-1 and successfully defend their regular-season District 4 title.

Wimsatt, who had scored just six goals this season, struck twice. Schneidtmiller assisted her on both goals and scored the other.

“We knew we had to pick it up because it was such an important game,” Wimsatt said.

They also had to pick it up because one of Mercy’s best players, senior Katie Wiedmar, was dismissed from the team on Tuesday for unexcused conflicts with golf, Setser said. Wiedmar has qualified for the KHSAA State Golf Championships next week.

“It was a good win, being able to regroup from that,” Setser said. “She was a key player.”

The Jaguars (4-0, 16-3), who have built the second-best record in Kentucky, earned the top seed in the District 4 tournament next month. The fourth- and fifth-seeded teams - currently St. Francis (1-3, 2-9-1) and Holy Cross (0-3, 4-7) - will meet in the first round, and Mercy will play the winner in a semifinal. The second-place Crimsons (3-1, 9-9-2) will play the third-place team, currently Presentation (1-2, 7-8), in the other semifinal.

“We knew this is what it came down to,” Setser said. “It was an important game and an important win. But we didn’t overdo it. There are many others we want to play that are more important than this.”

Manual coach Terri Kendall would like the Crimsons to play such games, too - and win.

“I’m tired of losing,” she said.

The Crimsons seemed to be on the right track early against Mercy, particularly after sophomore Katie Fenzel’s goal - made possible with a pass from junior Moriah Facktor - produced a quick 1-0 lead. But they didn’t bring much more pressure into the circle before halftime, failing to earn a penalty corner during the entire first half. Mercy senior CJ Hermes sewed up the right side, in particular

The Jaguars tied it with 3:28 left in the half. Manual junior goalie Emma Trawick (3 saves) stopped one shot off a Mercy stick, but her teammates couldn’t clear the ball. Schneidtmiller got it in the scrum that ensued and passed to Wimsatt, who shot through the traffic and scored.

Schneidtmiller did it alone to give the Jaguars the lead in the fifth minute of the second half. She dribbled down the center of the field, caught Trawick far outside the cage and pushed the ball past the goalie’s right foot.

Schneidtmiller thought the defense had overplayed for a possible pass and left her room to shoot.

“I just saw the right corner and took the shot,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been working on.”

The Crimsons suddenly went back on the offensive with about 10 minutes left, generating five corners in quick succession. But that flurry produced only one shot, which Mercy senior goalie Katie Spradlin (4 saves) stopped, and the Jaguars put the game away moments later.

Schneidtmiller drove down the field again - this time on the right side - and crossed the ball into the circle, directly in front of the cage. Sophomore Ellen Sholtes tried to take a one-touch shot and missed the ball, but Wimsatt was next to her and pulled off the trick with a flip shot into the upper left corner.

“That’s a very difficult play to make, but she has the ability to do it,” Setser said. “I’ve been waiting for it all year. We need her to do those kinds of things.”