The Kewpies soccer team picked the perfect time to start a winning streak.
The Kewpies (11-12-3) defeated Helias (21-4) 1-0 at Cosmopolitan Park in a rematch of a 1-0 loss Kewpie loss at Hickman on senior night on Oct. 18.
After losing five straight games heading into the Class 3, Distict 10 tournament, the Kewpies have put together consecutive victories against Smith-Cotton and Helias and will play Rock Bridge in the championship game tonight at 6 p.m. at Cosmopolitan Park.
Despite coming away with the shutout victory, the Kewpies survived many scares throughout the game.
Helias jumped on Hickman from the start, testing Kewpie's keeper Drew Huckla with two scoring opportunities in the first five minutes.
The second Helias opportunity was stopped when Huckla came off his line and slid at Helias' leading scorer Justin Remmert, who had advanced through the Kewpies defense.
As Huckla would find out, the threats would continue.
Although Helias' offense kept keeper Drew Humphreys from having to stop any Kewpie scoring opportunities for the first 12 minutes of play, the Kewpies broke through with a Michael Washington goal in the 13th minute.
Senior mid-fielder Joe Schaeperkoetter, who had two assists in Tuesday nights 5-1 victory over Smith-Cotton, started the Kewpies' scoring drive by breaking through the defense at midfield, finding forward Jay Johnson open on the left side.
Johnson's open run in transition drew Humphreys out of the box and when Johnson sent the ball passed Humphreys, Washington was left unmarked coming from the left side and directed Johnson's pass into the vacant net.
"I saw Jay with the ball on the left side and nobody picked me up as I was cutting down through the middle," Washington said.
"I called Jay's name and luckily he heard me and kicked it to the right spot and I was able to tap it in."
Helias threatened to tie with two more opportunities before the half but were unable to capitalize. Their shot went wide of an open goal in the 17th minute, and Huckla jumped back and tipped over another shot from about 20 yards out in the 29th minute.
The Kewpies continued to be on the defensive in the second half but held on after enduring one more close call in the 62nd minute.
Helias midfielder Scott Miller sent a shot in the box that forced Huckla to make a diving save to his left, which ultimately preserved the game and Huckla's ninth shutout.
"I'm just going to say it was reactions," Huckla said. "They came out of nowhere, I don't know where that came from, I just kind of knew."
With ten minutes left, Huckla said defender Mark Breeding told him that the team needed a shutout and that Breeding's words helped him focus during the remanding minutes.
The closing minutes, which was played mostly in Hickman's end, was especially hard on Kewpies coach Jon Strodtman, who has seen victory snatched away from his team with seconds left this season.
"The last couple of minutes I was watching my watch, and I was like 'oh please don't let one in this late,' because we're notorious for doing that this year," Strodtman said.