LOUISVILLE — Much like a Stephen King novel, the losing streak of the Monarch girls soccer team to Fairview had become lengthy, and quite honestly very ominous.
In fact, the current crop of seniors at MoHi had not tasted victory against the Knights in five attempts, having scored just one goal over that span. But when history was stacked up against them on Friday night in a Class 5A second round playoff game, the higher-seeded Coyotes didn't let the past intervene in their 2-0 victory that kept their season alive while ending that of their rivals.
It was a tense game between familiar foes, but the Coyotes took advantage of a couple of plays while playing excellent on their defensive end, and the No. 8 seeded team will get to face No. 1 and defending champion Grandview after goals from Zoe Schmanski and Melissa Myer earned them their 15th win of the year.
"It was all about mentally preparing ourself, and we worked our butts off out there," said senior Taylor Coble, who was excellent in the midfield in helping defend and win possession. "In my four years here we had never beaten Fairview, so it was so great to finally beat them in playoffs. Just a rush."
Not often do the extremities of the body attached to the arms play such a significant role in soccer, but they certainly did Friday. Schmanski's goal came on a 40-yard free kick in the 25th minute that slipped through Fairview keeper Avery Tallman's gloves to give Monarch a 1-0 lead, and Myer's goal came in the 66th minute on what Fairview coach Dan Niedringhaus labeled a "blatant hand ball" on a defensive clearing attempt that was not called.
The Knights on the field were pretty clear in their stance about the no-call, as two players immediately received yellow cards following the score.
"We got unlucky but you have to make your own luck is what it comes down to. We didn't finish our opportunities, they did and you have to give them credit for working hard," Niedringhaus said after his team ended the season 11-4-2. "They don't give up many goals, and we talked all week about when you have a chance to score you have to take it. Second round, third round, as you get up against these better and better teams you have to take advantage of every chance."
The Knights weren't error-prone in general, and in fact Fairview had the majority of possession in the first 10 minutes but could not generate shots. Their best chance of the game was 14 minutes in, when a Tea Smith rocket from about 15 yards was tipped up and out by goalie Sophia Chen and the ensuing corner kick was snuffed out.
With just about two minutes left in the first half the Knights had another series of nice touches in their offensive third but it didn't prove fruitful.
Monarch's defense tightened up even more in the second half, particularly on the dangerous Smith. Just before the Coyotes made it 2-0, Niedringhaus switched Skylar Anderson up top to get a little more speed but Monarch constantly kept the play in front of them. Monarch earned its ninth shutout of the year with a 13-8 shot advantage (6-3 on frame).
"We practiced a lot on our back line and worked so they didn't get those 1-on-1's. It was a focus of ours and we were able to shut them down," Coble said. "(Coach Eric) Schmidt anticipated (Fairview) perfectly."
Monarch 2, Fairview 0
At Monarch HSFairview (11-4-2) 0 0 — 0 Monarch (15-2) 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Monarch: Zoe Schmanski (unassisted), 25th minute; Monarch: Melissa Myer (unassisted), 66th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Avery Tallman (80-2-4); Monarch: Sophia Chen (80-0-3).