Lawrence High senior Ella Magerl had hung back for most of her team’s corner kicks Thursday night, but this time she just had a feeling.
With less than 21⁄2 minutes left in the second overtime, Magerl crept forward a few extra steps toward the box while waiting for the kick from teammate Keeli Billings.
“I just saw it coming in,” Magerl said, “and saw it through to my head.”
Magerl popped it toward the goal with her forehead, and after it was deflected back to her, she headed it back toward the goal one more time.
This shot found the corner of the net, and Magerl’s goal gave the Lions’ their first soccer victory of the season in a 1-0, double-overtime win over Leavenworth at Lawrence High.
“We fought the whole entire season to get a win, and we’ve just played our hearts out so many times and come up short,” LHS senior Mallory Thompson said. “To finally have it happen, it’s unbelievable.”
Magerl’s sudden-death goal on her own Senior Night set off quite a celebration, as teammates dog-piled on top of her on the field in front of the LHS bench.
“That felt amazing,” Magerl said. “It felt amazing to be surrounded by my teammates who have all worked so hard this entire season.”
Thompson said it wasn’t a surprise that Magerl — one of LHS’s shortest players — was successful on a header. Since fourth grade when the two started playing together, Magerl had received high praise from coaches for her ability to snap her head with lots of force to redirect passes.
“I’ve seen her win more headers than anyone else on the team, to be honest,” LHS coach Justin Young said. “She has that desire. She has that heart for it.”
Magerl’s goal came with just 2:04 left in the second overtime, and Thompson said she “jumped about seven feet in the air” when she saw the ball bounce into the net.
Though LHS outshot Leavenworth, 22-8, the Lions couldn’t break through in the first 97 minutes. A first-half shot by Addison Campbell clanged off the right post, and a few others opportunities in the second half were turned away by Leavenworth keeper Lacie Thornton.
“I feel like it was well-deserved,” Magerl said of the win, “and we had it coming.”
The Lions also were aided by solid defense, including a strong effort from Danielle Campbell, who routinely held her own when serving as the Lions’ last defender.
In addition to Magerl and Thompson, it also was the final home game for seniors Chelsea Foster, Tessa Lieber, Lindsy Herd and Justine Garcia.
“With such hard competition, you come together as a team and become really close,” Thompson said. “It’s amazing that we all just got to experience that together.”
The Lions (1-13-1) will play at Topeka High today in their final regular-season game.