It might not be Disney World, but Reagan Eickhoff was headed to Chick-fil-A after scoring the winning goal.
Boiling Springs hosted Greenwood Thursday, Oct. 6 and took down its friendly rival 2-1 in overtime. The out-of-conference 1A matchup felt like a postseason playoff game.
“I think the last time we went into a big overtime like this was East Penn in our freshman year,” said Eickhoff, who is a senior. She later added, “Greenwood is kind of the monkey we can’t get off our backs.”
By the looks of it, that monkey had the potential to hang around. Greenwood was first to take possession in 7-aside sudden victory. The Wildcats earned a corner within the first minute.
Senior Shae Bennett, who repeatedly rescued the Bubblers throughout regulation, took care of them once more. She was able to get ahold of the ball, break free from some powerful Wildcats, and send it to the stick of senior Lexi Hanlin.
Hanlin ran down the left, scanned for an open teammate, which is when she found Eickhoff.
Prior to overtime, Boiling Springs sent a barrage of shots at Greenwood’s goalie – Lydia Miller – who could have doubled as a human transformer. She made it throughout the final two minutes and 30 seconds of regulation unscathed but fell to Eickhoff’s scrappy finish in overtime.
Eickhoff wouldn’t let her stick off the ball until it went in the cage.
“We’ve been thinking about this game since preseason,” Eickhoff said. “It’s been circled on our board.”
The Wildcats were the first to put the ball in the cage. After a scoreless first quarter, Ashlyn Taylor assisted Audrey Weger in the second. Both teams were using fancy skills, spin moves, and quick footwork to their advantage.
“I think we were really worried, like how are the girls going to react,” Boiling Springs head coach Kortney Showers said.
The Bubblers hadn’t been scored on all season. They were 12-0 and are now 13-0, but every game had been a shutout.
Showers instructed her girls to ignore negative thoughts if Greenwood scored, which wasn’t unlikely because they are a skilled competitor.
“One thing I said to them yesterday is, if we fall silent, what fills the void,” she said. “And it’s negativity. So, all you have to do it just continue to talk through that and you’ll be fine. And I think that they answered to that.”
Showers wasn’t entirely able to contain her excitement. In response to how she thought the game went, she said laughing, “it was awesome.”
The conversation is going to shift a bit going forward, Eickhoff said.
“District champs is our biggest thing right now, and then obviously states from there,” she said.
Eickhoff wasn’t quick to dismiss how well Greenwood played. She acknowledged they had powerful hits and solid defense.
Bennett shined with 3D skills when under pressure in the Bubblers’ defensive circle. Toward the end of the game, she carried the ball cleanly on her stick toward the alley.
Most of her game play seemed like she was giving minimal effort, yet she was working full-time for the first time this season.
“I knew that this was a team that dribbling wasn’t probably the best idea because they have strong stick skills,” she said. “Whenever I would turn and get the ball, I was like either I’m going to pass it or they are going to intercept it. Or I can try to dribble my way out of it to the sides. A lot of thoughts were going through my head. We haven’t had pressure on defense in the past couple of games.”
Noting that it was one of her better games this season, she added the coaches really helped her to see the outcome ahead of time differently.
“We’ve done a lot of physical preparation, as well as mental preparation,” Bennett said. “I think that helped a lot. In the past, we would’ve been like, ‘oh, it’s Greenwood. They’re probably going to beat us.’ This year, we flipped the switch and we just came out strong with a good mindset.”
Hanlin was a reliable performer, who was able to even the score. Eickhoff reverse hit the ball down the Bubblers left. The ball was transferred to the right. Senior Jenna Bush ran with it to the endline, where she found Hanlin, who finished the shot.
“Me and Jenna kind of work the right side together,” she said. “So, I knew something was going to come out of it. I just saw the ball and was like, ‘oh my goodness.’ It was kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing. I was just happy. I think we all came together after that and then came back to win.”