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Late offense carries Jackson at showcase
The Indians beats Hazelwood Central 3-0 to improve to 7-1.
FENTON -- Jackson girls soccer co-coach Justin McMullen signaled the No. 3 play as Indians sophomore Kasey Crowden prepared for a free kick from well outside the penalty area late in their game with Hazelwood Central on Saturday.
McMullen had three fingers up on each hand and yelled the number, but Crowden could not see or hear her coach as the kick was taken from the far side of the field across from the Jackson bench.
"It is supposed to be a high floating ball into the penalty area," McMullen said. "She floated it a little farther than I expected."
Crowden's free kick floated through the arms of Hawks goalkeeper Nikki Walsh and into the net.
It was a huge insurance goal that was followed less than a minute later by a goal by Hannah Walsh as the Indians defeated Hazelwood Central 3-0 in the finale of the Parkway College Showcase Tournament at the Anheuser-Busch Center in St. Louis County.
"I couldn't see coach because the sun was in my eyes," Crowden said. "I guess it worked out OK."
The No. 3 play now may be a fixture in the Indians playbook.
"It was Kasey's magic left foot," Jackson senior defender Emily Thompson said.
The final score was misleading as the first 55 minutes was tightly contested with neither team able to generate much offense.
Crowden would score the important first goal with 23:18 to play in the game.
"That was really a team goal," Crowden said. "We worked it from the back and I was able to get a goal out of it."
The Indians defense made that goal stand up as Morgan Riddick recorded the shutout, although she had very little work through the 80 minutes.
"The less they shoot the better you feel about the defensive unit as a whole," Thompson said. "We have a lot of skilled players in the back and it was encouraging the way we played the last 15 minutes tonight. I think this shows that we can be a second-half team. Good teams control the final stages of the game."
Jackson was coming off its first loss of the season, a 1-0 defeat against Fort Zumwalt West on Friday in the first game of the showcase. The Indians (7-1) responded well to the loss.
"We always like coming to this showcase," Jackson co-coach Julie Wunderlich said. "There is a high level of play and quick play. The game yesterday was a defensive one and it was the same for much of the game today. We were not able to create much offense in the first half. But we got that first goal and that seemed to pick up our play. We played a real solid game defensively."