The Yellow Jackets junior attacker is the undisputed engine of her team’s offense, but when her team took on Forest Park earlier this season, Wessels was limited to just one half before she was ejected for receiving a pair of yellow cards and the Yellow Jackets had to scrap for a narrow overtime victory.
In Thursday night’s rematch, Wessels made a point of putting her stamp on the Yellow Jackets’ 14-9 win.
Wessels scored eight goals, including three straight to open the game, and had four assists in the regular season finale for Osbourn Park (12-2, 12-0 AAA Cardinal District) , securing home-field advantage for the Yellow Jackets in next week’s AAA Cardinal District tournament as well as the top seed in the Northwest Region tournament. All that was secondary though to Wessels, who called the game personal for her.
“I just learned that I can’t take anything, in this game especially, for granted, because this is a second opportunity, and those don’t come often,” she said. “I realized I had to step it up in this game and get back what got taken from me last time.”
Wessels, who has made an oral commitment to women’s lacrosse powerhouse Northwestern, relied heavily on her speed against Forest Park (11-2, 11-2), scoring three times on fast breaks following a draw. In more settled offensive situations, Wessels would frequently draw two and sometimes three Bruins defenders, freeing up teammates such as senior Allison Notarantonio, who twice converted passes from Wessels into wide-open goals in front of the net.
“I don’t really think I went out with a mentality that I had to score,” Wessels said. “It was a mentality that if you don’t play me correctly, I’m going to score. And if you do play me correctly, I’m going to dish it to one of my family members and they’re going to score on you. So whatever you do, we’re just going to work around it.”
Not all of the attention Weesels got Thursday night was positive. Midway through the second half, she and Forest Park goalie Masyn Dillon had to be separated after Wessels was whistled for fouling Dillon as she brought the ball up near midfield. The two exchanged words as the teams prepared for the restart, but Wessels had the last word. She scored her final goal two minutes later to put Osbourn Park up 13-6, its largest advantage.
Yellow Jackets goalie Katie Joe Lang was brilliant for stretches Thursday night, at one point saving four Forest Park shots during a four-minute stretch in the second half. She finished with 11 saves.
“In big games like this, where I know that I can make the difference, I try and be that difference,” she said.