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DES MOINES — It was a shot that even Xavier Coach Amir Hadzic had never seen in all his years of soccer, and it tore the heart out of the Saints.
Hudson senior Braxton Rottinghaus took a flyer on trying to score from midfield after Will Reiter nudged the kickoff to him. The ball sailed over the Saints' keeper and into the net leaving players and fans stunned as the No. 6 Pirates went on to a 3-2 victory over the defending champion Saints in a 2A quarterfinal.
'I asked Will Reiter 'if the goalie's out far enough should I shoot it?' And he said, 'Yeah, go for it.'' Rottinghaus said. 'I saw the goalie was off his line, and I just took a shot and I guess it went in. I've never done that before.'
'He bombed it,' Reiter said. 'It was great.'
Hudson Coach Sue Rink said all she was thinking was 'That's my Braxton.'
'He serves the ball so well that when he has those types of shots something is always going to come of it,' she said. 'This means everything to us. We had the hardest game here because Xavier has a foundation, the reputation, and they're so sound. For us to do this is monumental.'
The seemingly unbelievable goal came right after Xavier (15-5) had tied the game at 2 on an attack led by Will Hanigan. Hanigan threaded his way through the defense and passed the ball to Thomas Bean, who scored in the 64th minute for the tie. But four seconds later the improbable goal put the Saints behind again.
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The Saints led 1-0 at halftime on a Hanigan goal. They controlled the last 30 minutes of the half but just couldn't get another score. The Pirates (18-2) came back in the second half, scoring twice on penetration into the box by Reiter and feeds to Rottinghaus, who finished both.
The game might have been different had Xavier not lost a goal in the 50th minute on a delayed offside call made by the center referee and not by the sideline judge.
'But you have to give Hudson full credit,' Hadzic said. 'They came out to play and scored two nice goals. We were able to come back and then they had that unfortunate goal. If he were to shoot it 100 times, 99 would go over. But we'll be back.'