Elated. Even more so.
Madison Spooner had to admit she was almost as surprised as she was elated when her shot caromed into the net to give Indian Creek a 1-0 victory Saturday over the host Cogs in the championship game of the Class 1A Genoa-Kingston Regional.
“I honestly didn’t think it would go in, but I couldn’t be happier,” Spooner said.
It was Spooner’s sixth game-winner and came with 15:25 left in regulation.
The goal was the capper to an afternoon that began in an unsettling manner for top-seeded Indian Creek (12-2).
The bus never showed up, so Indian Creek coach Luke Anderson contacted Genoa-Kingston officials to say a car caravan would arrive as soon as possible. The late start would be coupled with several injury stoppages.
That may have kept either team from getting into the kind of offensive rhythm shown on March 7 when host Indian Creek posted a 4-2 win over the Cogs (14-7-1).
However, one was all it took this time for the Timberwolves to earn their second straight regional title.
Immaculate Conception returns to Genoa-Kingston for a 4 p.m. Wednesday sectional semifinal against Stillman Valley, a 5-0 winner over another regional host, Byron.
“We were pretty much stagnant until the last three minutes — that’s when we finally started playing like we normally do,” Cogs coach Randy Tate said. “I thought for sure [Spooner’s] shot was wide and then it curves in enough to catch the post.
“But this time of the year, it just takes one mistake or one lucky shot. Obviously we weren’t as lucky hitting the post three times but didn’t put one in.”
Following a scoreless first half, Anderson felt the same way.
“I was really hoping we’d get one off the nine corner kicks plus five throw-ins we had at their end (in the first half),” Anderson noted. “In the end, it was a great match between two competitive teams, and we’re thrilled to move on.”
Indian Creek compiled enough chances — 19-8 in overall attempts and 8-2 in shots on goal — to finally have the law of averages tip in their favor.
Emil Schilling earned the assist on Spooner’s goal. It was her first of the year.
“I saw Madison going to the middle and knew she’d get to it,” Schilling said. “It’s exciting to win and even feels great to contribute like that.”
Spooner leads Indian Creek in goals (21) and assists (nine). Defensively, it was the seventh shutout for Indian Creek, goalkeeper Josie Diehl’s sixth, including back-to-back shutouts for the postseason despite the Cogs’ heavy pressure late.
“I tried to stay calm and not worry too much about (being so busy),” Diehl said. “Getting shutouts in postseason are a lot more exciting, but the win is most important.”