Here is how Notre Dame senior Tyler Buelow won his team's Class 2 boys soccer sectional, even if more than seven minutes remained before the game officially was settled 3-1. Here is how he made sure his senior season didn't end at the feet of the Hillsboro Hawks.
"I just got my sub and I came into the game, and as a senior, I didn't want to lose this last game," Buelow said. "So I came in hard and I just wanted to score no matter what. I was just going all out for it."
Here's how he did it.
Buelow took possession of the ball just past midfield.
"I just saw the gap, and I just went for it," he said.
He passed the first defender with his speed as cries of "Stop the ball, stop the ball" came down from all directions in the Hillsboro cheering section.
"Then I touched it a little too far, but I stuck it out and got the other touch around the second guy," Buelow said.
With a third defender approaching, Buelow fanned out to his left, creating the angle he would need.
"I beat the last defender and just touched it into the corner," Buelow said, making the entire process seem implausibly simple.
His low shot ended up in the back right corner of the net. Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead and Buelow and his teammates celebrated.
"He's a special talent," Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn said, noting that Buelow has scored similar goals three or four times this season. "He's able to keep possession of the ball going through traffic like that and then has poise enough to place the ball past that keeper.
"We beat Cape Central on a very similar play, so it's not the first time we've seen that from Tyler. We actually saw him against some very good schools last summer in a team camp we went to up in St. Louis. I knew that he would find his spot and do that for us."
The score was the crescendo of a hectic second half for Notre Dame during which Hillsboro scored a goal to tie the game 1-1 with 14 minutes, 15 seconds left to play.
Notre Dame will play St. Mary's in the quarterfinals Saturday.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a goal from junior Aaron Arnzen with just more than two minutes to go in the first half.
Notre Dame assistant coach Matt Vollink called a set play after a Hillsboro foul, and Arnzen finished it to perfection with a header into the goal.
"I was getting ready to run in and he was like, 'Start now,'" Arnzen said. "So I started going in and look what happened."
"I don't think there's any accident that that happens," Wittenborn said. "Those guys work on those kinds of plays and take pride in developing those skills in addition to the foot skills."
Arnzen also scored Notre Dame's final goal with three minutes left in the game on another set piece.
"I was going to take it then Logan Buchheit came up to me and said, 'No, let me take it. You're a little bit better at headers.' He was like, 'Let's see what happens,'" Arnzen said. "So I go out there and I just ran in near post. Same thing -- flicked it back post and it was in."
The score put an exclamation point on the victory Buelow had all but sealed a few minutes earlier.
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