MIDVALE Make no mistake about it: Jordan came into its match with Hillcrest needing a victory. After stringing together a perfect record in the preseason, the Beetdiggers stumbled out of the gate in region play.
Three losses in four games quickly dropped Jordan into fifth place in Region 2, and the Beetdiggers could see their once-certain playoff aspirations fading into the sunset.
"I think we wanted it a little bit more," Jordan coach David Trapp said. "We knew our backs were against the wall."
The Beetdiggers are against that wall no more. Libby Lindquist came up with the game's only goal in the 51st minute, and Jordan made it stand up for a 1-0 win over the Huskies on Wednesday afternoon.
Lindquist broke the scoreless deadlock when she got loose on a breakaway. Hillcrest allowed her ample space to navigate through the penalty area, and the junior forward took full advantage of it. She pulled up inside the 6-yard box and flicked the ball behind keeper Kiley Jo Johnson, burying it in the back of the net.
Winning a defensive battle might be just the shot in the arm the Beetdiggers needed to get back on track after the dismal four-game stretch that threatened to derail their season.
"A shutout for our defense is amazing," junior goalkeeper Kelsie Garner said. "(Coming) against a good team, it is so good for us. It looks so good on our record."
The Beetdiggers faced an additional challenge of dealing with a Huskies team riding high on emotions.
Each Hillcrest player had painted the number 21 on her cheek or legs in support of Allysa Hansen. The junior midfielder, who wore that jersey number, had surgery to repair a torn ACL on Wednesday effectively ending her season and costing the Huskies one of their best players.
The Huskies' desire to come out on top for their injured teammate was evident in their furious push to score during the final 15 minutes of the match. But Garner kept Jordan's lead intact with one brilliant save after another.
A rematch with Brighton awaits the Beetdiggers on Friday. They feel confident that they can be more competitive with the Bengals and other high-level opponents now."We know how we can play now," Garner said. "We know that we're tough. We know we can beat a good team. And we know what our standard is. We can't go below that standard. We need to stay at a high standard."