WORCESTER, Mass. – Quite frankly, it was the shot of a lifetime.
When Central Catholic senior midfielder Jill Lane hit her miracle shot from 20 yards to the left of Shrewsbury goalkeeper Devinne Zadravec, her coach would’ve advised her instead to push the ball back to one of the Red Raider forwards.
“I don’t think I can hold this one against her though,” first-year Central Catholic head coach Casey Grange said.
Lane, a left-footer, hooked a shot from an extreme angle inside the far side post to reclaim the lead, 2-1, for Central Catholic in the 32nd minute of the second half of the Division I girls’ soccer championship at Worcester State College.
The Red Raiders controlled play for the better portion of the first half behind its talented midfield, including Lane, and freshman forward Courtney Walsh up top.
Central Catholic had the best scoring chance of the early going in the 26th minute as Gabie Polce –who also turned in a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem prior to the match -- took a give-and-go from Lane within 10 yards, only to have it sail wide of the right side. The Red Raiders finally found the back of the net in the 34th minute when Walsh one-timed a crosser from Alex Riddle to the right-hand corner of the net for a 1-0 Central advantage.
Central Catholic out-chanced Shrewsbury 8-2 in the first half and out shot them by a 5-1 margin.
“I think we’re more fit than any team we’ve seen all season due to the conditioning we put in all season,” Grange said about the efforts of her midfielders. “We were just able to wear them down.”
Shrewbury came back to tie the match in the 16th minute of the second half off of a corner kick. Midfield Kayla Shea played the corner into the box. After the ball was boxed around a bit, it fell on the foot of Jess Morana, who buried it into the right-hand corner of the net from 10 yards out.
Then, Lane struck on her golden boot.
“That’s the shot of a lifetime that girl [Lane] hit down there,” Shrewsbury head coach Chip DelPrete said. “That was just a laser beam.”
It wasn’t that Grange didn’t believe in her team’s chances in the tournament, but she tempered her players’ expectations from the beginning of the season, when her team told her they were destined for a state title.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa,’ let’s be realistic here,” Grand said. “Let’s just try to make it to the tournament first, and then advance once get there.”
Was she a doubter? Not really. Grange does know when to admit she is wrong, however.
“They owe me a big ‘I told you so’ right now.”