Meghan White had one word going through her mind: "Finish".
So when White’s initial shot was stopped by Kellenberg goalkeeper Nicole Nagengast, she never stopped competing. The St. John the Baptist junior midfielder found the loose ball and chipped in the game’s first goal in the 58th minute.
"I knew that I had to keep working hard and just finish," White said. "I would have been so mad if I didn’t finish."
But visiting Kellenberg wasn’t finished, either. Sophomore Lindsay McShea registered the equalizer in the 69th minute as the teams played to a 1-1 draw in a competitive, physical CHSAA girls soccer game on Wednesday.
It was the first game of the season for both teams. There were no fans in the stands. Players and coaches on the bench wore masks and sat spaced out on one of three benches for each team. Players on the field were not required to wear a mask, and only a handful of players wore them during the game. Also, the officials called for a two-minute break midway through each half.
"It’s definitely different having no fans, but it was good," White said. "You have to adapt to what you have."
St. John the Baptist was the aggressor early on, and tested Nagengast two minutes into the game. But the junior, who made 10 saves in her first varsity start, was equal to the challenge and made a key stop.
"I just knew I had to get that one," Nagengast said, "and try my best and keep pushing."
Her counterpart — Cougars goalkeeper Morgan Magwood — made eight saves,including a key stop with 1:03 remaining in the contest.
"They came at us late," Magwood said. "It was really tough, but you do what you have to do to keep it 1-1."
Kellenberg coach Suzanne Sluka, whose team lost to eventual state champ St. Anthony’s in last season’s CHSAA final, was pleased with her team’s resolve after falling behind in the second half.
"We loved seeing the girls come back to get the equalizer," she said. "I thought we had a lot of chances at the end of the game to notch the game winner. The final 20 minutes is something I would like to see the girls build on as the season progresses."
While working toward a great finish.