Kaitlyn Bonar still had a big smile on her face, even after getting banged up and bruised.
A winning smile.
Late in the first half of Saturday's sectional girls soccer final at Don Drumm Stadium, the Marietta High senior goal-keeper had to leave the match after colliding with a Hillsboro forward in the penalty area.
At first glance, it looked pretty serious as Bonar - who missed all of last season with a knee injury - laid prone on the turf while the Marietta trainer and her mother attended to her.
After a few minutes, though, Bonar was able to stand and walk off the field on her own power with cotton in her nose. The knee was fine, but she'd taken a beating nonetheless.
"I got kicked in the face; she (Hillsboro forward) missed the whole ball," said Bonar after Marietta rallied from a 1-0 deficit at halftime to defeat the Lady Indians, 2-1. With the win, the Lady Tigers advance and are scheduled to face Tri-Valley (15-3) in a district final at Kenny Wolford Park in Dresden at 4 p.m. Saturday.
With Bonar on the bench with a possible concusion and broke nose, MHS head coach Jeff Price looked no further than Jordan Metts to fill in between the pipes.
"Kaitlyn wanted to go back into the game, but...," Price said. Price's decision was actually a no-brainer as Metts was the starting keeper last season.
"I knew that when Kaitlyn went down that I was going to have to get ready," said Metts, a senior midfielder this season. "I played the position last year, and I knew I was going to have to step up for the team to make sure that we move on."
Oh, did Metts ever - step up, that is. Actually, the whole team did, and sparked by second-half goals by Paige Grosel and Maegan Grosel was able to pull out the victory.
"We won it for Kaitlyn," Maegan Grosel said.
After the break, Metts held Hillsboro scoreless, but not without some anxious moments. On one long Lady Indian shot from the perimeter, she had to jump as high as she could with both arms extended above her head to make the catch and save.
On another boot, she had to make a point-blank save, and then on a corner kick, she had to pounce on the ball on the turf to thwart a Hillsboro scoring opportunity.
"Jordan had the most amazing save ever on that corner kick," said Marietta striker Maegan Grosel. "The ball was bouncing around in there, and I don't know how she got it."
Needless to say, Metts was very instrumental in helping the Lady Tigers win.
"She did a great job," Bonar said.
Price agreed and added, "It was nice to have Jordan come in with her experience."
Emily Reilly-coached Tri-Valley, Marietta's opponent Saturday, nipped Zanesville, 1-0, to advance to the district tilt. Jessica Woods scored a first-half goal, and keeper Laney Wilson had nine saves to lead the Scotties.
MHS is expected to start Katie Miller, Alex Depue, Alyssa Hill, Jenna Hanner, Bethany Tuten or Ashley Streski, Allison Fouss, Paige Grosel, Maegan Grosel, Ashton Koons, Amanda Rinehart, Katy Beihl, and Bonar or Metts.
Maegan Grosel and Fouss are the team's leading scorers.
The rest of the Lady Tiger roster includes Shelby Miracle, Sofia Danford, Maddie Bauer, Ingrid Solberg, Anna Carpenter, Sydney Stanley, Breanna Seevers, and Lyndsay Haas.
Price is assisted by Laura Rush.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at email@example.com