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Kellner’s goal in the 90th minute propels Tritons to state

By Murray Gleffe

WRIGHTSTOWN – Overtime seemed inevitable.

Then, with 58 seconds to go in the WIAA Division 3 sectional soccer final, Notre Dame Academy’s Izzy Kellner came out of nowhere to score a goal to propel the Tritons to a 2-1 victory over Xavier at Wrightstown High School June 8.

The victory sent Notre Dame, the defending Division 3 state champs, to the state tournament in Milwaukee June 13-15.

“My teammates worked so hard to get me the ball downfield to allow me to get in position to score,” said Kellner. “Being a senior, it means so much to me to be able to give this moment to [head] coach Bob [Rickards] in his final season as head coach.”

Rickards is leaving the program for St. Norbert College upon completion of this season.

The Hawks and Tritons played a midfield game for the better part of the first 20 minutes of the game with only five shots being registered on goal.

In the 25th minute, Tritons forward Emily Lin got behind the Hawks defense and sent in a 35-yard, high-arching shot that was saved.

“We got some decent looks in the first half,” said Rickards. “Most of the shots were from longer distance and we just couldn’t get enough in the middle of the field.”

The teams remained scoreless at halftime.

Seven minutes into half number two, the Tritons struck first. 

Keighley Blindauer and Jenna Cuene connected downfield, and then, Cuene sent Kellner a cross that the Tritons forward knocked past the Xavier goaltender for a 1-0 lead.

The lead, unfortunately, lasted only 27 seconds.

Xavier put the ball back into play, and the Tritons fell asleep in their zone.

Rylee Sammons poked the ball past Notre Dame goaltender Alana Bergin after an initial shot by Mari Seidler was turned away to even the score. 

“We have to do a better job at not getting complacent after a goal,” added Rickards. “Once you get a one-goal lead, you can’t just rest and assume the game is over.”

With 3 minutes left in the game, Notre Dame’s Emily Noble made a key defensive play to turn back a potential three-on-one Hawks rush. 

With under a minute remaining, Emily Lin sent in a shot from 31 yards out that was back-tapped to Kellner amidst heavy traffic in front of the net.

Kellner did the rest in putting the Tritons up 2-1 and sealing another trip to state. 

“It’s very special,” added Rickards. “It shows a senior (Izzy) playing hard not wanting her season to end. We tell the kids all the time – play to the 90th minute. I think that comment rang true today.”

Box score

Xavier: 0, 1—1

Notre Dame: 0, 2—2


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