Carlton Crusader Racquel Marshall, left, and St. Mary Marauder Jessica Buettner battle for control of the ball during the senior girls' high school regional final Wednesday at Kinsmen Park. Carlton won 1-0 in double overtime. Herald photo by Sheri Lamb
Luck was on the Carlton Crusaders girls' soccer team's side Wednesday.
The Crusaders survived a scare in the high school regional final against the St. Mary Marauders at Kinsmen Park only to rebound a few minutes later with a fluke goal of their own in the 1-0 double-overtime win.
Crusaders keeper Diandra Magee and defender Hali Moreland had a bit of miscommunication during the first five-minute overtime, which saw Magee's clearance attempt bounce off her defender and head straight towards the open net.
"I was honestly almost pooping my pants," said Magee, 16. "I was so scared. It was just a misunderstanding between the defender and me. We've just got to work on that.
"We both kind of called for it and then we were confused about it."
Marauders' co-captain Emilee Matheson said when she and her teammates saw the ball rolling towards the open net they were all holding their breath.
"We were all freaking out on defence; it would've been pretty sweet, but it's not really the way we want to win a game either," Matheson said.
Both the Crusaders and Marauders had punched their ticket to the 3A provincial championship in Weyburn on Oct. 28 and 29, but the teams had to play Wednesday to determine where they'd be seeded in the eight-team tournament.
The Crusaders return to the 3A championship wearing the target after winning in 2009.
"It's going to be really hard because everyone is going to want to beat us," Magee said. "We've just got to keep it together and play as a team, like we did today, and, hopefully, it'll all turn out well."
In addition to the two Prince Albert teams, Saskatoon and Regina will each send two teams to the provincial championship, while Swift Current and Weyburn will also be represented.
The two Prince Albert schools see a lot of each other - they're the only schools in the region - but they still enjoy getting together on the pitch for a good, intense game of soccer.
"We just love playing St. Mary because they're such a hard team and it's a lot of pressure, but it's really fun," said Magee.
Many of the girls often play on the same team or against one another in the Premier Soccer League too, which makes the high school games even more fun.
Wednesday's game was a close defensive match-up through the first half, but the Crusaders had St. Mary on their heels in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but were unable to find the net. St. Mary picked up their intensity in the final 20 minutes of the game and both sides battle for Prince Albert supremacy.
Finally, in the 98th minute, Crusaders forward Teigan Fiset managed to bang a shot past the sprawled St. Mary keeper.
Matheson said after four years of playing for the Marauders the rivalry with Carlton on the soccer pitch is one of her favourite high school memories.
"We're a family," said the 17-year-old. "We've always had a pretty strong team and strong girls on the team and we all laugh a lot, have fun and get 'er done on the field."
In a perfect world, St. Mary will dethrone the Crusaders next weekend in Weyburn, giving Matheson a provincial soccer title before she graduates.
"Hopefully, we'll see Carlton in the final and bring it to them when it counts."