Senior Lundyn Landner kicked the perfect free kick and junior Ava Munoz finished the play with her second goal as University High edged Hannan 2-1 in a girls soccer match between two Division III powers Wednesday night at U-High.
Landner’s 35-yard free kick came with one minute left in the contest. The hard-struck ball landed low and took a wicked bounce between two Hannan defenders. Munoz was able to get behind the defenders and knock in a 12-yard shot for her second goal of the night.
“Lundyn Landner struck a great ball to the back post and Ava finished it up,” Cubs coach Melissa Ramsey said. “It was a very clutch play. Thankfully the ball went through and we were able to finish. We do practice set pieces a lot.”
Munoz, who leads the Cubs with eight goals this year, said she expected a higher ball that she would try to get a header on the free kick.
“I saw the ball coming on the ground and I was in the right place at the right time,” she said. “We really wanted to win this match.”
University (9-2-4), the two-time reigning Division III state champions, are third in the power rankings. Hannan (8-3-3), which is fifth in the power rankings, had 15 shots on goal compared to 10 for the Cubs.
Hannan coach John Dempsey said his defenders should have cleared the free kick.
“The free kick took a funny bounce and we misjudged it, but it was a ball we should have won,” Dempsey said. “This is a match we can learn from. University is the standard of where we want to be. We overall played well and we’re moving in the right direction.”
Munoz connected on a deflected ball for a 25-yard goal 10 minutes into the contest.
Hannan tied it at 1-1 in the 61st minute on a perfect corner kick by Rachel Maestri. University senior keeper Olivia Schwehm got a finger on the high corner kick, but it curved into the net. Schwehm finished with six saves.
Hannan tried to feed Maestri on two longs forward passes in the second half that Schwehm came out of the box to break up.
“It was a very exciting game,” Ramsey said. “Hannan is such a good team and really had an advantage the last 20 minutes with their attack. Olivia Schwehm had her best game of the season in goal for us. She came out and made a statement.”
Ramsey said Landner played well defensively on the back line. University senior Lilly Mittendorf recently suffered a season-ending knee injury, and the Cubs are having to adjust.
Dempsey said Leah Horst did a great job at left back for his defense.
“Going forward we need to continue to work on possession, and be as effective as possible on the back third,” Ramsey said.