Katherine Wieland knows how to really step up her game when it comes to regional finals.
She had forgotten what it felt like to score a goal, though, until Friday.
The Metea Valley senior delivered the lone goal, on what wasn't even really a shot attempt, but it was all the Mustangs needed in a 1-0 victory in the Class 3A Waubonsie Valley regional title game against the host Warriors.
"I was just trying to get it in the box for Jade (Eriksen-Russo)," she said. "I could see she was 1-on-1 and she's good at taking people on, so it just worked out that way."
Wieland launched her pass from about 45 yards away, which was aided by the wind. The ball bounded high and eluded the Waubonsie Valley goalkeeper to give the Mustangs all the scoring they needed, despite it occurring less than eight minutes into the game.
"That was so awesome for her," Eriksen-Russo said. "I don't know what happened. It was kind of a mess, but it's just a great feeling and I know she's feeling great."
Wieland knows for certain that it was her first goal of the season. She wasn't sure if she scored one last year, but her coach Chris Whaley confirmed that if she doesn't remember scoring last year, then this likely was her first varsity tally.
Last spring it was her defense that helped the Mustangs take home a regional title. During her sophomore year she sat on the sidelines and cheered on her teammates due to a knee injury. This time, with a little luck and good intentions, she delivered the game winner. What a great regional ride it has been for Wieland.
"You have to take your chances whenever you get them," Whaley said. "We had plenty of chances, but give (the Warriors) credit. They defended really well and when we had opportunities that I thought we were going to put away, a defender always seemed to come out of nowhere, and we had some near misses where their defenders were selling out, but we'll take a win no matter what."
Metea Valley (15-3-4) won its fourth consecutive regional title.
"I think you come into this game expecting to win because you're the higher seed and we beat them early in the season," Whaley said. "We tried to prepare the girls by telling them that it was going to be a battle and it's your rival and at their field. Our girls stepped up and I'm super proud of them because earning a regional title out in this area is no cakewalk."
Waubonsie Valley (11-9-1) was shut out for just the first time since April 13 and only the second time this season as Amy Ahern recorded the clean sheet.
Standout senior Sarah Griffith created some scoring chances for the hosts, but the Purdue recruit fell short of netting goal No. 25 as the equalizer.
"I thought we played good," she said. "Natalie Massa was marking (Michigan recruit) Nicki Hernandez, who is one of the strongest girls and she completely shut her down. I've never seen her play so hard. Every single girl stepped up tonight. It's unlucky, but you can't control that (goal). We'll stay positive. We had an incredible season."
The Mustangs will battle Neuqua Valley at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in a Class 3A Lockport sectional semifinal.
"To do it (win a regional) four years in a row is nice, but the team has bigger goals," Whaley said. "Now we can look to the next one."