It took an extra 20 minutes, but the Lady Dogs got the win over Hamilton in the Class A quarterfinal match on Saturday.
Tied 1-1 a minute into the second 10-minute overtime period, Olivia Potthoff fired a shot from the left side of the box, just inching past the keeper’s fingertips and into the net.
Potthoff and her teammates erupted into cheers before getting back on defense and holding their lead for the final nine minutes.
Head coach Roland Benedict said being able to grind out those tough wins is a trait he’s glad to see in his team.
“The teams that win trophies and conference titles can win the ugly games. The games where you win 5-0 and you’re putting all your chances away and you’re scoring goals are great, everything is hunky dory, but when you’re dominating the game and can’t score and you go down 1-0, if you’re going to be successful and have even a chance to win a title or be in that conversation, you’ve got to be able to battle back and win those games. We didn’t do that in the regular season but we’re learning and coming into our stride and hopefully we can continue that gritty momentum.”
Hamilton got on the board first in the match, with Rylee Wiediger scoring on a penalty kick in the 55th minute after sliding into Whitefish keeper Sami Galbraith, who was charged with the foul as she tried to make the save.
Ten minutes after Hamilton’s score, Whitefish’s Anna Cook found the net to tie things up.
Potthoff nearly connected on an earlier shot at the end or regulation, but Hamilton keeper Maddy Martin made the save to push things to extra time.
Whitefish attacked relentlessly with 32 shots on goal to Hamilton’s nine. Galbraith had six saves for the Lady Dogs.
Earlier in the week the Lady Dogs also defeated Polson 4-0 in a play-in match at home.
On Saturday they’ll head to Billings Central for a rematch with the Lady Rams.
Whitefish faced Billings at the beginning of the season but fell 3-1.
Despite the score, Benedict said he left that game feeling good.
“I think we played well in that game. They’ve been beating everyone all year, but a 3-1 result isn’t terrible against a team like that. We weren’t creating chances back then. I just recently watched that game film and we were in shambles going forward. We weren’t really working on attacking play at that moment,” he said.
Getting a grip on Billings’ two key players, Morgan Ferestad and Zoie Althoff, will be the defensive priority, he said.
“I think taking those two girls out of the game and finishing our chances,” he said. “In our last two games we’ve created 72 chances on goal. That’s a lot. We’ve got to be more clinical in front of the goal. We’ve got to put our chances away and score properly, and I think when we do that we can play with anyone and we have the girls to beat people.”
Polson 0 0 — 0
Whitefish 1 3 — 4
W — Emma Barron, 9:00
W — Ali Hirsch (Anna Cook), 58:00
W — Olivia Potthoff (Barron), 59:00
W — Abby Lowry (Grace Benkelman), 77:00
Shots on goal — Polson 5, Whitefish 40, Corner kicks — Polson 0, Whitefish 3; Keeper saves — Polson 26 (Kallie Finkbeiner), Whitefish 3 (Sami Galbraith); Fouls —NA; Cards — None.
Whitefish 0 1 0 1 – 2
Hamilton 0 1 0 0 – 1
H – Rylee Wiediger (penalty kick), 55:00
W – Anna Cook, 65:00
W – Olivia Potthoff (Anna Akey), 91:00
Shots on goal – Whitefish 32, Hamilton 9; Corner kicks – Whitefish 4, Hamilton 2; Keeper saves – Whitefish 6 (Sami Galbraith), Hamilton 12 (Maddy Martin); Fouls – NA.