Hassell, Eastern Tech stop Hereford for title

Up from JV, sophomore leads win with 19 saves

2A North girls soccer regional

High School

November 06, 2001|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Eastern Tech goalie Katlin Hassell knows the view from the ground floor. Yesterday, however, the sophomore found out that the view from the top was much better, thank you.

Hassell stopped 16 shots in regulation and two overtimes, then three more in a shootout, to lead the Mavericks to an upset of defending state champion Hereford (13-4-1) in the Class 2A North regional girls soccer championship game.

The Mavericks (13-4) will play next week in the Class 2A state semifinals, at a site and time to be determined.

Two weeks ago, Hassell was on the junior varsity.

"We found that we're a better team when our first-string goalie [Shannon Markel] plays in the field, and Kaitlin was better than our second-stringer," said Eastern coach Brett Smith. "This is the first game she's started on the varsity."

Hassell certainly picked the right time to come up big. In the second half, she stopped the Bulls' mighty offense time after time.

"I love pressure," said Hassell. "I love to play in shootouts, because it demonstrates the skills of every player on the field."

Eastern Tech took the lead just three minutes after halftime, when the referees ruled that a Mavericks player was taken down in the penalty area. Laura Shearer's penalty kick made it 1-0.

Hereford's offense turned up the pressure, and it was then that Hassell was at her best.

She made several acrobatic saves, including one on a point-blank shot by Hereford's Hollis Botti, the county's all-time leading public schools goal-scorer.

The Bulls finally connected to tie the game at 1 with just five minutes left in regulation. Hereford's Tressa DiPasquali found herself alone with her back to the goal, and tapped a pass back to teammate Megan Mattson, who blasted a shot past Hassell into the upper center of the net from 25 yards out.

"I felt confident at that point that we would find a way to win," said Hereford coach Steve Power. "[Hassell] just had a magnificent game."

After two overtimes, and a 4-4 tie in the first round of penalty kicks, the teams went to sudden death.

Each team scored once to run the margin to 5-5 in the second round of the shootout. Then Eastern's Erika Stimmel scored to put the Mavericks ahead again, 6-5.

Hereford's Lauren Carls shot next, but her bullet to the right middle of the goal was stopped by a diving Hassell for victory.

"I knew I had to stay mentally focused," said Hassell, who had seven shutouts for the junior varsity. "I got a good jump on it and knocked it away."

"It's disappointing to end the season this way," said Botti, who finished with 80 career goals. "It would have been a dream season if we could have won it all, but things happen."

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