Maia Rowekamp stood her ground.
An errant back pass had given Madison West’s Eva Hurley a clean run at net, leaving Janesville Craig’s goalkeeper alone to stop the sprinting forward.
Rowekamp moved off the goal line, cutting down Hurley’s angle.
Then, she let her reflexes take over.
The junior keeper got both gloves on Hurley’s hard shot in the 60th minute, parrying the ball wide and preventing the Regents from equalizing.
Savanna Dare and Hannah Loertscher each scored to back Rowekamp’s clean sheet as the Cougars defeated visiting Madison West 2-0 on Tuesday to pull out of a recent funk.
“I found my heart down in my stomach at that point,” Craig coach Bill McCabe said of Hurley’s breakaway chance.
“Maia took a good angle on it. She came out just a bit, but didn’t come out too far where she was going to get chipped.”
Rowekamp finished with eight saves. As for her biggest? She couldn’t recall it during a post-game interview.
“It’s all kind of just adrenaline,” she said. “I always have people ask me, ‘Oh, how did you make that save?’ I usually don’t remember until I go back and watch the film.”
Craig (8-5-0, 5-2-0 Big Eight) snapped a two-game losing streak and vaulted over the Regents (5-6-2, 4-2-1 Big Eight) into third place in the Big Eight with two rounds of league play left.
“We really needed this to get back into it,” Craig center back Hannah Dunlavy said. “We still have a few games left, and we’ve got a whole other season ahead of us.”
Dunlavy turned in another superb performance leading Craig’s back line. She and fellow center back Claudia Fieiras were busy Tuesday.
“They tried to split up the middle and go on the outside, so we always had to have people checking back,” she said. “If I would step, I always had people coming behind me.”
Madison West outshot Craig 13-10, with the best of its opportunities coming from Hurley. The junior forward nearly scored a stunning goal in the 50th minute, but her long-range effort from about 40 yards away deflected off the right post.
Craig broke the scoreless deadlock in the 32nd minute, when Dare played an overlapping pass to Loertscher, who popped a shot over Madison West keeper Lissy Kettleson for her fifth goal of the season.
Loertscher hadn’t scored in almost a month, last connecting April 16 against Beloit Memorial.
Dare added a crucial insurance goal in the 78th minute, breaking to the right corner before somehow cutting the ball back across the penalty area and then into the left side of the net. Dare appeared to be only a few yards from the end line when she shot.
“I don’t know how she does it,” McCabe said.
Craig can still win the Big Eight title, but the Cougars would need to win out and have several other results fall their way. Craig has finished third each of the past two seasons.
“I feel like this was a big confidence booster for us,” Rowekamp said. “Getting out on the field really helped us get back in our groove.”
The Cougars will host Madison Memorial on Thursday.
Memorial shuts out Parker
The Spartans beat visiting Janesville Parker 10-0 on Tuesday.
“We definitely came out more focused and organized that we did yesterday, we just couldn’t keep the momentum going forward,” Parker coach Jenna Rosienski said.
Goal scorers were not made available.
Parker travels to Beloit Memorial on Thursday.
CRAIG 2, WEST 0
Madison West 0 0—0
Janesville Craig 1 1—2
JC—Hannah Loertscher (Savanna Dare), 31:19.
Saves—Lissy Kettleson (MW) 7, Maia Rowekamp (JC) 8. Shots—MW 13, JC 10. Shots on goal—MW 8, JC 8. Corners—MW 1, JC 1. Offsides—MW 0, JC 0. Fouls—MW 7, JC 6.