Silverhawks deal the shorthanded Spartans their first loss of the season in a shootout


Photo by Camden Cohn

The Silverhawks handed the Spartans their first loss of the season on a rainy Wednesday at Seacrest Field

On a rainy Wednesday at Seacrest Field in Lincoln, Nebraska, two top 5 and undefeated girls soccer teams took the pitch. Lincoln Southwest (#4 according to the Omaha World Herald and #2 according to the Lincoln Journal Star) entered with a record of 7-0. Lincoln East (#1 according to both the Omaha World Herald and Lincoln Journal Star) also entered with a record of 7-0, so something had to give.
Coming into the game, the Silverhawks from Lincoln Southwest came in much more battle tested as they defeated two preseason top 5 teams, Millard West and Omaha Marian 2-1. Southwest was outscoring their opponents 27-3 coming into the game. East, on the other hand, was cruising through some weaker competition and came in averaging just over 7 goals a game and outscoring opponents 49-3. So the two best teams in Lincoln were ready to battle in what could be a state tournament game preview.
And boy did the game live up to the hype. The Silverhawks struck first in the 16th minute on a goal from senior Ava Spinar from about 10 yards out. Then the defenses for both teams stepped up as both teams were held scoreless until the final minute of the game. East sophomore Paige Poppe scored after a free kick from sophomore Annie Mulder bounced out of the Silverhawk goalie’s hands and Poppe was in the right place at the right time to tie the game at one with 19 seconds remaining. Poppe, who swings up from the JV team saw action because of the absence of several key starters. Seniors Olivia Kugler and Nebraska commit Haley Peterson were unable to play due to Covid-19 protocols and Beth Guevara tore her ACL in the previous game against Millard North. The goal by Poppe shows just how deep the East team is and how anyone can make an impact, senior Briley Hill, also a Nebraska commit, said.
After Poppe’s goal, the game went to overtime where the teams traded a few shots on goal but to no avail. After two 10 minute overtime periods, the game went to a shootout where the teams take turns taking shots against a goalie and whoever scores more wins. It took until the 8th shot after makes and misses by both teams when Southwest finally won when Kynlie Simpson converted against East goalie Summer Wolfe. The Silverhawks won 2-1 and moved to 8-0 and the Spartans dropped to 7-1.
Even though it was a tough loss for East, there are still a lot of positive takeaways from the game. “The game as a whole was extremely exciting, we have been training for this competition so we were super hyped,” senior Briley Hill said. “It’s always disappointing to lose in a shootout but [it’s] nothing to hang our heads about. I think this loss can teach us a thing or two and puts us in a good place for our competition at the end of May.”
Even with the absence of several key players, the Spartans still played very competitively with the wealth of underclassmen talent that they have against a more experienced Silverhawk team. Even after a loss, Hill still believes that East is the best team in the state and is ready for what should be an exciting rest of the season for LEGS (Lincoln East Girls Soccer).