No. 13 Huskies upset No. 5 Hawks in overtime, 2-1, to win regional championship

The girls varsity soccer team defeated Olathe East, 2-1, in the regional championship, May 20. Freshman Kate Rooney scored the game-winning goal for the Huskies with nine seconds remaining in overtime.

Jack Nitz and Tessa Regan

After defeating Olathe Northwest in the regional semifinals, 3-1, the Huskies entered the regional championship against Olathe East looking to win the game and advance to state. Despite playing the game on one day of rest, freshman goalie Nimu Karani said the Huskies knew they had to give it their all and play with a lot of intensity.

“We knew we had to give it all that we had and we had nothing to lose so we were playing with the mindset that we had to win no matter what,” Karani said. “Everyone was working extremely hard and put everything they had on the field.”

Playing their second straight game as the lower seed, freshman Kate Rooney said the team knew Olathe East would be strong competition, but they believed they were able to win if they played their hardest.

“We knew [Olathe East] was fierce competition, but I knew that we could do it and if we gave it our all we would be fine,” Rooney said.

Both teams were scoreless for a majority of the first half until Olathe East scored a goal with 7:50 remaining before halftime. But, senior Mary Hungerford answered, finding the back of the net with 6:33 remaining in the half and the Huskies and Hawks entered halftime tied, 1-1. 

Throughout the second half, the score was at a standstill as the Huskies and Hawks fought back and forth, but no goals were scored. At the end of regulation, the game was tied, 1-1, and the teams were set to enter a 10-minute overtime period. 

With the clock dwindling down, it looked as if no goals were going to be scored in overtime and the game would enter penalty kicks. That was until junior Megan Yates received the ball with 15 seconds remaining in overtime off of a cross that had been deflected by multiple players. Yates passed the ball to Rooney who fired a shot into the upper left corner, scoring the game-winning goal with nine seconds remaining in overtime. Rooney said the moment felt surreal and it was hard to believe that it happened.

“It felt insane to score the game-winning goal. I can’t even remember what happened and I’m still stressed out about it,” Rooney said.

Karani said it was a special moment for Rooney who began the season on JV and was playing in just her second varsity game. 

“For her to score a goal in that situation is crazy. She’s already scored two varsity goals in just two games which is really insane and we are all really happy for her,” Karani said.

As the team prepares for state, Rooney said the team is pleased with how far they have come, but they are hoping to keep winning.

“We’re going to state which is really exciting and even if we don’t go further, just getting here is insane,” Rooney said. 

The Huskies are set to take on Shawnee Mission East in the 6A East Region State Quarterfinal on Tuesday, May 25 at SMDC (Westridge Field #2) at 4:00 p.m.