Kowalski

Teutopolis' Jason Kowalski dribbles by two defenders in their win over Hillsboro Wednesday.

The number eight seed Wooden Shoes defeated the number two seed Hillsboro Wednesday, 2-1 on penalty kicks by Jason Kowalski and Alex Probst.

"It feels good," said Teutopolis head coach Aaron Wendt. "We've been playing our best soccer the last two weeks and I told the boys 'We've got nothing to lose,' and they really came in clutch at the end."

While Probst and Kowalski stepped up in a major way, it would not have been possible without the work of their keeper, Colin Beckman, who finished the match with 10 saves. 

"I felt pretty well," Beckman said. "The one thing we did a lot was we talked a lot and we haven't really done that all year. I was very happy with the performance from our team and I do think I got a pretty awesome PK save, if I do say so myself."

In the first five minutes in the game, it was Hillsboro who had the upper hand as they were constantly in the Teutopolis third of the field, purposefully passing the ball around looking for an open shot. 

In turn, the Wooden Shoes relied on counter attacks early on and almost got to goal on a through ball from Probst, but miscommunication caused the ball to be cut out by the defense. 

Things started to shift about half-way through the half, as superb passing from Kowalski and Jarrett Hardiek started to give the Wooden Shoes more looks at goal. 

The Teutopolis defense came up big with 26 minutes remaining in the half when Alex Deters and Ben Wente helped sniff out what would likely have been a shot on net from Hillsboro. 

Just two minutes later, Beckman made a great save on a bending shot from just outside the 18 to keep the game knotted at nil-nil. 

In the closing minutes of the first half, it looked like the Shoes would get on the board off a shot from Kowalski, but the ball was deflected out of bounds just in front of the keeper. 

In the second half, Hillsboro visibly amped up their attack, moving up their line and sending more players up the field into the Shoes' third. 

Teutopolis had great chances on back-to-back possessions, but a good save from the Hillsboro goalie cleared the danger and the other was headed just over the bar. 

Then with just under 15 minutes to go, Teutopolis drew a free kick, but on the cross into the box, the Hillsboro goalie punched the ball away to avert the danger. 

At the end of regulation, as well as two 10-minute overtime periods, the score remained scoreless, forcing the game into a penalty shootout. 

After each team had a player go, the Shoes trailed 1-0 in the shootout, but Kowalski netted a beautiful shot just inside the right-hand bar to tie it up. 

Still tied at 1-1, Probst stepped up and beat the keeper to give the team a 2-1 advantage. 

Beckman then made a diving save to his right to hold off Hillsboro and give his team the upset. 

Up next, the Wooden Shoes will play St. Anthony on Friday in a rematch of last year's regional championship, in which the Wooden Shoes upset St. Anthony 3-2.

Teutopolis     0     0     0     0     0     2

Hillsboro     0     0     0     0     0     1

Teutopolis: Probst PK goal; Kowalski PK goal; Beckman 10 saves.  

Contact Zachary Rainey at zachary.rainey@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext. 123.

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