Nelson scores on PK, but Lady Zs’ season ends with sectional semifinal loss to LaVille
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS — Mikalah Kuskye scored two goals, and Ava Barrett-Heaton scored the go-ahead goal with 5:21 left to give the LaVille girls soccer team a 3-1 win over Rochester Thursday in a Class 1A, Sectional 35 semifinal at Argos’ Eugene Snyder Field.
Macie Nelson scored the lone Rochester goal on a penalty kick with 8:38 left in the first half. That lead stood up until Kuskye’s equalizer with 16:39 left.
With the game being played in damp, windy conditions, Barrett-Heaton nailed a 25-yard kick and skidded by Rochester freshman goalkeeper Mylee Heinzmann to give LaVille their first lead.
Kuskye completed the scoring with another long strike with 35 seconds left.
“You cannot let any minute down,” Rochester coach Chantal Rensberger said.
Rochester finished 6-7-3. They have never beaten LaVille.
Rensberger and LaVille coach Brandon Shafer are Argos grads coaching on the field in which they played in high school.
LaVille improved to 6-7-4 and earned a date with the host Lady Dragons in the sectional final at 2 p.m. Saturday. Argos bested Bremen 3-1 in overtime in the first semifinal.
LaVille will be seeking their first sectional title since 2017.
Rensberger said the ending of the season was emotional. She said the impact she makes on kids’ lives is why she coaches. The Lady Zs graduate seven seniors: Melody Hisey, Isabella Angeletti, Maddy Brouyette, Nelson, Kendyll Bradley, Amy Williams and Sydney Haughs.
Nelson, Bradley and Williams were key four-year players.
“That group of seniors, especially Kendyll and Amy and Macie, they’ve been with me since I’ve been the head coach,” Rensberger said. “That was not the outcome that I wanted for them, especially because I would say that was probably those three girls’ best game they’ve played all season.”
With Bradley patrolling the midfield, Williams and Nelson running the flanks and players like Audrey Wagner, Sydney Haughs, Skyla Mitchell and Lilly Watson averting potential danger on defense, the Lady Zs held a possession edge and eventually scored first after a LaVille player was called for a hand ball inside the 18-yard box.
Nelson beat LaVille goalkeeper Heaylyn Kwiatkowski from the penalty spot to give Rochester the lead.
But a counterattack from Kuskye in which she dribbled along the left sideline, stayed inbounds and blistered a shot over Heinzmann’s head tied the game.
Rensberger raved about Heinzmann afterwards.
“Upper quadrant goals are hard to stop, and Mylee Heinzmann had probably the best game of her life tonight in my personal opinion,” Rensberger said.
But Kuskye made the big play that might have changed the game’s momentum.
“We had a bit of a disconnect back there with Syd and Lilly,” Rensberger said. “And Syd thought the ball was going out, and that resulted in their first goal.
“It’s hard to win when you only have maybe six girls playing 200 percent. And we were all getting tired. It was cold. The rain came in. I don’t know. It’s not the outcome that I wanted, but it definitely was one of our best games I feel like we’ve played as a team this season. So I’m very, very proud of them.”
Amy Williams Kendyll Bradley Macie Nelson