BROOMFIELD — It was the 1986 World Cup where Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored what remains to this day the game’s most controversial goal.
It is simply known as the “Hand of God.”
Rest assured, unless they have done their homework, not a single player on the Jefferson Academy girls soccer roster could tell you about it if asked. But on Saturday against The Classical Academy, Jags junior Heidi Wendt did her best Maradona impersonation.
With under six minutes to play, Wendt won a 50-50 ball — albeit with a little help from her hand that the referee didn’t see — against the Titans’ much bigger and more physical defender, Emily Mueller, and finished with a flick off the outside of her left foot past keeper Sarah Buzzetta for what would eventually be the game-winner in a 5-3 Class 3A non-league win.
“It was such a tight game and I had to fight for the ball, and it was a hand ball, but you play through no matter what,” said Wendt, who helped the CHSAANow.com‘s 10th-ranked Jags to a 6-2 record. “I got the outside of it and it was a victory.”
Wendt finished with two goals and an assist, but her work against the much bigger Mueller in the waning moments is something she had prepared herself for.
“I’ve always taught myself that I always have to use my body, and just be strong,” she said. “And this time it played out well.”
Jefferson Academy has already matched its win total from a year ago and avenged a 4-1 loss to the Titans last season in Colorado Springs. The Jags were up 3-1 at halftime, when TCA -— a state semifinalist last season — came storming back.
Hannah Burgo scored her second goal of the game, benefiting from a well-placed corner that came to the top of the box and was headed to her from Nicole Hale. She finished easily past Kassidy Hastings, who reacted to the initial touch by Hale.
The Titans (3-6) equalized less than 10 minutes later. Hastings couldn’t hang on to the first shot on goal and TCA senior Heather Sherrill swooped in to finish the rebound.
Jefferson Academy didn’t buckle and, like they had done for a majority of the first half, took control of the possession and just played a more physical game than their opponents. It would eventually result in Wendt’s game-winner.
The Jags would get an insurance goal moments later in transition. Wendt was streaking down the left side of the Titans defense when she fed a perfect ball to Ally Thimsen. The senior’s quick one-touch made it a two-goal deficit.
“We were pretty alert to what we were going to expect here today,” said Jags coach Denise Sutton of the Titans’ don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover record of 3-5 coming in. “I’m proud of my girls, they brought us back to equal again and then kept pressuring to get the win. Our goal is to play possession ball and they made it work out there.”
Junior Alycia Wright scored her 16th goal of the season, connecting on Mollie Heitman’s direct free kick in the 28th minute. Heitman, a defender, would bag her fourth goal of the year in the closing minutes of the first half, with a direct free kick from the same spot that beat Buzzetta up high.
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Jefferson Academy 5, The Classical Academy 3
At Jefferson Academy
Classical Academy 1 2 — 3
Jefferson Academy 3 2 — 5
Goals (assists) — TCA: Hannah Burgo (unassisted), 11th minute; JA: Heidi Wendt (unassisted), 12th; JA: Alycia Wright (Mollie Heitman), 28th; JA: Heitman (unassisted), 39th; TCA: Burgo (Nicole Hale), 52nd; TCA: Heather Sherrill (unassisted), 60th; JA: Wendt (unassisted), 75th; JA: Ally Thimsen (Wendt), 78th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — TCA: Sarah Buzzetta (80-5-5); Jefferson Academy: Kassidy Hastings (80-3-4).