Just like she has in almost every other game this season, Claire Gantzer had to wait her turn and start on the bench.
This time, however, she did what no other player on the field could: she scored.
In the 69th minute of the Oklahoma State soccer team’s 1-0 victory against South Dakota State, Gantzer scored the game-winner in what could be her final home game.
Gantzer, a senior defender, had played in all 20 games for the Cowgirls prior to Friday night. The only problem is that she has only started seven of those games as fellow senior defender Hannah Webb has occupied the left wingback position.
Through 68 minutes, the game was very similar to other games that Cowgirls have played this season. Eleven of their 20 games prior had been decided by one goal or less and it did not look like this one would be any different.
The Jackrabbits brought with them the No. 4 defense in the country, conceding just eight goals prior to the matchup with OSU and it showed. The game was a constant back-and-forth between the two with the midfield looking similar to a game of pinball.
“The game was really open,” OSU coach Colin Carmichael said. “I Didn't expect it to be so open in the midfield. I think (SDSU’s) back three drop off quite early so they allow you to play in front of them, which allowed us to get numbers forward.”
Having both Webb and Gantzer splitting minutes this season has been difficult for Carmichael, but he knows whenever Gantzer gets a shot, she performs.
“(Gantzer) has been in and out (all season),” Carmichael said. “I know she wants to more minutes, but every time we call upon her she does a fantastic job.”
This wasn't the first time Gantzer scored a crucial goal off of the bench. In this second season Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma on Oct. 25, she scored a minute and a half after she subbed in.
Scoring goals doesn't come natural to her, but when she does manage to get her name on the scoresheet it is hard to forget.
“It’s unforgettable,” Gantzer said. “Whether you're the person who scores or doesnt score you still get equally excited. It’s kind of nice to have such a close group of girls that you are pumped to celebrate no matter who scores.”