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Lightning in a bottle

The Morris girls soccer team won its first ever regional championship by beating 
Yorkville on Friday night.
The Morris girls soccer team won its first ever regional championship by beating Yorkville on Friday night.

Last year a lightning storm that passed through town ended the Morris vs. Yorkville regional soccer match. Right after the Foxes got the lone goal of the game, a bolt shot across the sky for the first time and the storm never left and Yorkville walked away with a shortened 1-0 victory.

This year Morris captured lightning in a bottle, scoring three unanswered goals to come roaring from behind to beat the Foxes by a 3-2 score.

Oh yeah, in the process the Redskins girls won their first-ever regional championship ever.

“This feels amazing,” Morris senior keeper Stephenie Wiekert said.

The win now makes Morris 8-8-2 on the season.

“We’re all very excited,” Morris coach Kristen Porter said. “We’ve been talking a lot in the last two weeks that we thought we could pull this off. It’s very exciting because the whole team is pretty much new, along with the coaching staff.”

Indeed. Wiekert is the lone senior on the team this year and the three goals were scored by two sophomores and a freshman.

It didn’t look good for the locals early as Yorkville scored the first two goals of the night. Brittany Straznickas scored on a penalty kick in the 17th minute and Sophie Bolanos scored with five minutes left in the half.

“Their first goal came on a PK and I felt that if that was the way they were going to score, then fine,” Porter said. “On the second one, Stephenie tipped it when it went off the post — I know she was feeling bad about that because she got a hand on both that and the PK.”

Wiekert said that she let it go like water rolling down the back of a duck.

“I didn’t effect me that much because I knew that we could get it together,” she said. “Then we scored right before the half and right there we knew we were into it. We knew if we stayed behind each other that we could do it.”

With time winding down in the first half, defender Katherine Gallick made a mad dash up the left sideline and didn’t stop until she beat Yorkville’s keeper low left.

“I could tell that goal effected them (Yorkville),” Porter said. “Katherine drove past the midfield and scored low left.”

It took six minutes into the second half before Morris tied it on a breakway by Amanda Grant and then the game winning goal came off a corner kick when freshman Brooklyn Enger put up a lefty kick from the left of goal and it deflected off sophomore Alexis Halcomb and in.

“We had Amanda Grant scoring 1-on-1 with the goalie ... and then scoring off the corner,” Porter said. “The whole team was screaming at the top of their lungs at that point. it was crazy. Everyone was excited.”

On the other end of the field, Wiekert also enjoyed the corner kick goal.

“I was astounded when that went in,” she said. “It was fantastic.”

Morris will now be playing in its first ever sectional game on Tuesday at 4:30 at Normal Community West.

“People need to see that Morris is not just about football,” Wiekert said. “Soccer is a sport too. We proved that tonight ... and our crowd, we showed that tonight.”

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