Div. I girls soccer: First-year goalie perfect as Heidelberg upsets Ramstein
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Behind the stellar goaltending of freshman Mariah Lauritzen, Heidelberg captured the its fourth straight European Division I girls soccer championship with a thrilling 1-0 overtime victory over Ramstein.
Heidelberg senior LeAnn Buchholz scored three minutes into overtime to break the deadlock.
“It’s awesome,” Buchholz said. “We didn’t think we would get this far.”
The Royals outshot the Lions by a wide margin during regulation, with Lauritzen the center of attention. Ramstein statisticians had their school up 31-6 on shots on goal going into the 20-minute overtime period.
“That goaltender right there saved our butts,” Heidelberg coach Jim McCauley said, motioning to Lauritzen as she and her teammates celebrated their improbable victory.
Ramstein came into the tournament with a 7-0 record, including five shutouts.
Heidelberg had lost 5-0 to Ramstein on April 17. That loss came on the heels of a 6-0 setback against International School of Brussels.
Heidelberg managed to regain its composure and bounce back to finish the regular season on a high note, prepping them for the tourney.
For Ramstein head coach Bill Belmear, Saturday’s loss marked the end of a long and successful career as a DODDS coach.
But Belmear, who is retiring this year, wasn’t waxing nostalgically about his coaching career. His focus was still on the game.
“How can you dominate a game like that and not get [the ball] in the net?” Belmear asked.
“It never occurred to me that we wouldn’t score,” he added. “We’ve averaged five goals a game this year.”
The championship game was a physical affair. Several players dropped to the ground after taking a shot in the stomach or face. One Heidelberg player fractured her left forearm in the overtime period.
However, Heidelberg seemed to have more stamina as the game wore on, especially in the overtime period.
Lauritzen played a major role in helping her team clear the final hurdle. Peppered with shots time and again, she kept her wits about her and the ball out of the net.
“I like to be busy during the game,” Lauritzen said.
— Rusty Bryan contributed this story.