ND exits in shootout

Friday, November 4, 2005

Sikeston stunned Notre Dame with a 1-0 victory.

Notre Dame goalkeeper Nathan Kolda had a school-record 17 shutouts heading into Thursday's Class 2 District 1 championship game. Sikeston sophomore keeper Scott Droddy also had a school record, a more modest seven.

Notre Dame was 17-3-3 heading into the contest; Sikeston was 12-10.

Notre Dame had beaten Sikeston 5-0 and 3-0 in two previous meetings this season.

But after a scoreless regulation and four scoreless overtime periods, Sikeston outshot Notre Dame 4-2 in penalty kicks to win the game 1-0.

With the victory, Sikeston celebrated its second consecutive district title -- and the second in the program's 14-year history -- on Notre Dame's field for the second year in a row. Sikeston will play Tuesday in a state quarterfinal game at the Anheuser-Busch Complex in Fenton, Mo.

"I don't care if we win on penalty kicks, it's a terrible way to end the game because it doesn't really show who has the better team," Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn. "Anytime you go to penalty kicks, it's a bad thing.

"The Sikeston keeper did a good job. He guessed right on a couple of kicks. Our keeper got his hands on a couple of kicks, but they still went in."

When Droddy stopped Jason Delgado's PK attempt for his second save of Notre Dame's four PKs, Sikeston clinched the two-goal advantage for the win. Droddy had stopped the first kick by Jack Wedemeier.

Sikeston made all four of its kicks, with Scott Gardner, Andrew Box, Chris Carnell and Blake Taylor tallying. Notre Dame's Frankie Ellis and Abe Dirnberger hit their shots past Droddy.

But Notre Dame couldn't get anything past Droddy in regulation, despite 33 shots and a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks on the night.

"We had plenty of chances to score," Wittenborn said. "I thought we played well. We moved the ball around. We rushed a few shots, and we shot from further out than I would've liked a couple of times, but we had chances."

But Sikeston had answers for Notre Dame's chances, and it wasn't always Droddy.

Sweeper Adam Gillean made two saves on shots that had gotten by Droddy, and senior defender Ryan Beaird made another. Midfielder Hunter Dillender earned Wittenborn's attention by marking Ellis.

"I thought their outside defender played smarter against Frankie than they did the other times we played them," Wittenborn said.

Sikeston coach Derrick Long said his team had Dillender mark Ellis all over the field. "We told Hunter to go wherever he went," Long said. "Frankie's a great player, and we had to stop him."

Sikeston made one other adjustment, moving leading scorer Taylor (27 goals) from forward to center midfielder.

"That was the first time they saw that," Long said. "It worked great."

Sikeston was content to take the brunt of Notre Dame's attack, and could smell PKs -- and victory -- in the final overtime.

"We knew that they would get their chances," Long said. "They win by shutting people out and scoring off mistakes. We happened to have people in the right place when we made mistakes."

Notre Dame had a couple good chances late in the first half, when Droddy deflected a header by Wedemeier over the crossbar.

Gillean made the first of his two saves early in the second half by heading away Jacob Wengert's shot off a rebound while Droddy was away from his post. Midway through the half, Andrew Buelow's direct kick hit the crossbar and deflected over the net. Gillean made another save on Kirk Boeller's shot after Droddy had failed to clear it.

Notre Dame dominated the third overtime, when Droddy made a save on a header by Ryan Willen and Beaird made his save off Delgado's shot on Notre Dame's final corner kick opportunity.

Kolda's best save of the night came near the end of the final OT, when Carnell blasted a shot on goal in an otherwise uneventful period.

"Sikeston was stalling [in the fourth overtime] and you could tell they wanted to get to penalty kicks," Wittenborn said, "because that's when anything can happen."

Long didn't dispute that.

"We started to substitute more to waste time," he said. "I thought we could do it [in PKs]. I knew we were going to win. Scott is pretty much of a stud back there. He's good at guessing left or right.

"I tip my hat to the class program at Notre Dame," Long said. "I feel for their seniors."

So did Wittenborn, whose team lost to Sikeston in last year's district final 3-2 in double overtime.

"I'm a very lucky man," he said, "to get to coach this group of kids."

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