Hollar finally got the monkey off her back, moving past Ashley Kitchens as the all-time leading goal scorer at Warsaw while her team achieved another of its season goals in a 9-0 blowout of Wawasee at the Warsaw Girls Soccer Sectional semi-finals.
Not admitting it but looking a little antsy in Tuesday’s match with Culver Academy, Hollar scored just once and sat one goal shy of Kitchens’ mark of 61 career goals. Hollar didn’t waste a lot of time tying the mark, taking a feed from Gabby Monroy in the 12th minute and punching the ball home to open the scoring.
To Wawasee’s credit, it didn’t just let Hollar and Warsaw parade around for the first 30 minutes of the match. In fact, Hollar had just two shots in that span and Warsaw held only a 1-0 lead. Monroy, however, snapped the host Tigers out of the funk in the 32nd minute when a cleared ball worked right to Monroy, who slid a shot home for a 2-0 lead.
And then, the curtain for the moment.
“It was awesome that Abby (Schue) assisted it, she’s just awesome,” stated Hollar of the golden moment. “Then I kept thinking that I can’t mess this up, I got this. It came off my foot. I settled down, took a touch and just shot at the corner.”
The 60-plus yard kick from the goalkeeping Schue took a giant bounce and gave Hollar more than enough room between her and a charging Wawasee keeper Nicole Streby. One move to her right eluded Streby and the elementary tuck home became the permanent ink in the record book.
Meredith Hollar, the all-time career goal scorer in Warsaw girls soccer history.
“This was something I couldn’t do without my coaches and my teammates, but this was all God’s plan, that’s how I got it,” Hollar said. “I knew I would eventually get it, and that feeling after I scored (the second goal) was just awesome.”
Not stopping at 62, Hollar added numbers 63 and 64 in the first eight minutes of the second half. A remarkable number considering Hollar missed her entire junior season and part of this season from a knee injury.
Erica Gauger, Elizabeth Van Wormer, Alexis Myers and Sarah Boyle also found the back in the net as the wheels completely fell off the Wawasee bandwagon.
“We just ran out of gas in the second half, they hit all the open people,” said Wawasee head coach John Blunk. “They started nine seniors, we started nine freshmen and sophomores with no experience. We played hard, Warsaw is just a great team and we were outmanned. We stayed with them toe to toe, but just had mental lapses.”
Warsaw scored on six of its nine shots in the second half and peppered the Wawasee net overall with 17 shots to just two Lexy Blunk shots to accumulate all of Wawasee’s offense. Schue’s saves added up to her tenth shutout of the season.
While Warsaw head coach Dan Miller was happy for the special moment for Hollar, advancing to meet NorthWood in the sectional final was written higher on the list of needs Thursday night.
“I’ve had a pretty good seat for all 64 of those goals and I’m really excited for her, especially with all she has been through with the injuries,” Miller said of Hollar’s achievement. “I’m also happy those goals helped us get a win and into the championship game.”
The Lady Panthers advanced to the final by holding off a super pesky Plymouth team, 2-1, in Thursday’s first semi-final. A Taylor Stutzman goal in the second minute put NorthWood on the board, but Plymouth equalized one minute before the half when Allie Wright found the back of the net.
Stutzman found the magic bean in the 50th minute when she scored her second goal. NorthWood had to play 30 minutes of exhausting defense to hold on for the win, including a manic final 10 minutes that included an ejection of Plymouth head coach Chuck DeWitt for dissention toward head referee Frank Pizana, watching the final 10 minutes from the parking lot.
NorthWood (10-4-3) will seek its first sectional title while Warsaw (11-4-2) look to win its third consecutive trophy and sixth overall. Kick-off will take place at 7 p.m. at the Warsaw Soccer Complex.
“I thought there could definitely be a chance for a letdown, so I was happy to see us score there quickly to give us a little momentum,” Miller said. “We talked to the girls about that, just getting better each game. We are starting to click, and I’m excited to be playing for a sectional championship. You never take those for granted. NorthWood is going to be a really tough opponent.”