Patch girls' soccer team takes D-1 title, caps off perfect season
June 1, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany -- The Patch High School Panthers girls' soccer team took on the Heidelberg Lions in a "cat fight" that pushed both teams to their limits during the Division 1 championship May 22 in Ramstein.
The Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe game went into double overtime between Patch and Heidelberg, the second- and fourth-seeded teams, respectively.
With five minutes left, the Panthers' Nelly Loney sent a shot into the upper corner of the Heidelberg net, bringing the score to 2-1, securing the D-I trophy for PHS, and keeping its undefeated season intact.
Sixty minutes into the game, Patch scored first, after team captain Brianna Heber scored on a penalty kick.
It didn't take long, however, for Heidelberg to even the score at 1-1, with a tap-in of a corner kick.
However, goalkeeper Ellie Welton batted away a Lady Lion shot early in the first overtime.
"We have had a strong defense all year, and Heidelberg's defense was able to match up well against us in both the games we played [against] them this year," said Heber, a senior.
As nice as it was to beat Heidelberg, the team's semifinal victory over defending champion Ramstein a day earlier was just as sweet.
"Ramstein beat us (4-0) in the championship game last year, and we used that loss to help motivate us this year," Heber said. "It was sweet revenge, especially knowing that they were undefeated coming into the semifinals game."
Emma Murray led the way to victory over Ramstein with four goals, and was backed up by All-Europe striker Nelly Loney, who scored two goals.
The Lady Panthers' perfect season was the result of many overall improvements during the year.
"We worked hard this year on our passing game and offensive strategies that enabled us to spread the other teams' defense, which created many scoring opportunities," Heber said.
The Panthers also played half a dozen games against local German girls' soccer teams during the season, she added.
In the past, the Lady Panthers have barely been able to hold their own against their German rivals, but this year, they were undefeated.
"I can't remember ever having a season where we won all our games, especially against the German teams," said Thomas Manuel, team coach and PHS athletic director.
"This year's team really worked together well," he said. "They worked off each other's strengths and played selfless ball, and the results were a championship and a perfect season."