EuropeD-I girls soccer
Panthers’ lone score holds up
Stars and Stripes May 18, 2023
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Some might call it fate.
Sophomore Ella Engelke, who didn’t play soccer for Stuttgart last year, was doing OK on the wing this season. But she moved to striker – an unfamiliar position - for Thursday’s DODEA-Europe Division I girls soccer championship game due to a lineup adjustment.
Her team was mired in a listless battle with Lakenheath, when suddenly a chance to score – the only real one of the contest – developed. Kendall Boudreaux found herself open to the left of the goal and fired a crossing pass. Haley Wells, the team’s top scorer, sprinted into the goal area, but the shot eluded her and Lakenheath goalkeeper Chloe Aldrich and went right to Engelke, who was making a parallel run on the goal a few feet away. She kicked it into an open net and the Panthers went on to win 1-0.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” Engelke said.
She’s following a family tradition of sorts. Her older brother, Abe, scored the lone goal for Stuttgart in a 1-0 championship victory the year before the COVID pandemic struck.
Ella Engelke ran track as a freshman.
“It just wasn’t my thing,” she said. “I played soccer when I was younger, so decided to do that again.”
Her goal was just one of 13 shots on goal for the Panthers. But the Lancers only took four, struggling to put together any sustained offense.
Lakenheath coach Jose Pumarejo credited some of that to Stuttgart. And some of that to players who ended just pushing the ball upfield and losing control to the Panthers again and again.
“We should have played the game on the ground instead of the air,” he said.
He said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort, though.
“The last three games were really tough for us,” he said. “We left it all on the field.”
For Stuttgart, it was a nice chance to savor a title all on its own. The Panthers shared last year’s title with Ramstein after a storm and the threat of lightning stopped the title game when it was tied.
Panthers assistant coach Khriss Coello said this one felt better.
“100 percent,” she said. “We had to come back and do it this way and show who we are. The best team in Europe.”