Ogden • With time running out Thursday, it looked like Waterford had just found its strike.
A free kick was sailing to the far end of St. Joseph's goal, and had nearly crossed the threshold. Then Kelsey McArthur put a foot on it, and it went sailing harmlessly out of the goalbox, helping the Jayhawks preserve a 1-0 girls' soccer win over their archrival.
McArthur clearly heard the gasps of the crowd after her save she felt the same way.
"Afterward, I was just like, 'What did I do?' " she said. "It was a crazy play."
It was the nail-biting ending appropriate for the teams that have met for the past three Class 2A championships. Last season, Waterford won on a header off a set piece, but in this contest, St. Joseph's defense held tough despite facing four set pieces in the final 20 minutes of play.
The closest the Ravens came was on the shot McArthur deflected in the 78th minute, but several other opportunities flew over the crossbar. Mitsu Miyashima and Grace Sponaugle came close, but couldn't keep their shots down. Ali Kohler earned the shutout for St. Joseph.
The Jayhawks got only a few opportunities themselves, but they capitalized on the one that might have been the most unlikely.
Only a few minutes into the second half, Katie Panushka launched a cross from midfield that forward Kate Weil slammed in midair to hit the opposite side corner, a shot that was nearly impossible to defend.
It was the only goal that squirted through in an otherwise defensively dominated, physical game. Waterford coach Tim Dolbin personally congratulated the duo on the hookup in the postgame handshake.
"That was a highlight-reel goal," he said. "The chance of them pulling that off wow."
This is the only scheduled meeting of the two 2A titans this year, since the region has switched to a postseason tournament that will decide seeding for state. The Ravens were lamenting that they wouldn't be able to play St. Joseph at home, but were optimistic at the chance of another meeting in the postseason.
"I think if you put our chances against theirs, we had more," Dolbin said. "I think we don't just have hope, but an expectation that next time things will go differently."
Girls' soccer St. Joseph 1, Waterford 0
R Kate Weil scores the game-winner in the 44th minute off a cross from Katie Panushka.
• The Jayhawks successfully defend four set pieces in the final 20 minutes of play.