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Published: November 03, 2009 11:06 pm

GIRLS SOCCER: Raepple's pair lift GI to win

By Tim Schmitt
Niagara Gazette

GRAND ISLAND — When pretty play after pretty play didn’t give the Grand Island girls soccer team the lead on Tuesday, star forward Jenna Raepple decided to try brawn over beauty.

For the top-ranked Vikings, who had controlled the play against fourth-seeded Amherst in a Class A semifinal, that was exactly the push they needed.

Standing near the end line to the left of the goal with little or nothing to shoot at, the junior sniper bombed a shot directly at the Amherst goalie. The ball caromed off a shoulder, hit the crossbar, then fell into the net, breaking a scoreless deadlock with less than 15 minutes to play as the Vikings rolled on to a 2-0 victory.

“She was deep and put the ball on net and that’s what we tell them to do,” Grand Island coach Dave Bowman said. “On a day like today, put the ball on net, things are going to happen.

“I don’t think it was our best opportunity.”

Grand Island controlled the action for most of the first 60 minutes, but had nothing to show for it. Liz Lorence finally looked as if she’d given Grand Island (17-1) the lead with 20 minutes left to play, but after a nice pass from Raepple, the play was called offsides.

For the Vikings, the lack of scoring was a bit disconcerting.

“Going into halftime, we were a little worried, but good thing our defense kept up. That’s what kept us in the game,” Raepple said.

After Raepple got her first, it looked as if the Vikings might add another as Stephanie Senn whistled a long shot that struck the post cleanly, but bounced away. Sara McNulty also had a great chance for the Vikings with just under three minutes to play.

But then Senn sent Raepple on a run and the junior broke away from a defender, chipped the ball past a diving goalie and tucked in her second of the game.

“That was a good play by Steph,” Raepple said. “I just had to finish it.”

That leaves the Vikings a single win away from their first Section VI title since 2005. On Saturday, they’ll meet Williamsville East on the turf at Amherst’s Dimp Wagner Field.

“It’s a lot faster game,” Bowman said of the turf. “My girls like to move the ball fast. If their touches are on, they’re moving the ball and doing their thing, turf should be a good thing for us.”