|Jays survive in PK shootout; Wildcats fall to Mustangs|
|Monday, October 15, 2012 2:31 PM|
By NICK JOHNSON
ELIDA — St. John’s and Lincolnview went at it Saturday night in a match that no one wanted to see end — and it took a penalty kick from Lady Blue Jay Michelle Hitchcock to decide a 2-1 triumph in the nightcap of the Division III girls soccer sectional at Elida’s Soccer Complex.
Earlier, Allen East rallied to oust Jefferson 3-1 to open the sectional.
In the nightcap, the teams went at it for 120 minutes with a 1-1 deadlock before the penalty-kick shootout to decide matters. It came down to Hitchcock getting what may be the biggest goal of her career, a kick which went over the fingertips of sophomore Lancer goalkeeper Julia Thatcher to seal the deal and advance to play Coldwater 7 p.m. Thursday.
“We had a rough year. We had so many new girls in our program and we worked all year to try and put something together in the tournament,” St. John’s coach John Munoz recalled. “The Lancers were having an unbelievable year, so we came into the game knowing we would have to give it our all to win the match. We had a lot of good shots and our girls never gave up. A lot of our girls played 120 minutes and I’m very proud of their hard work.”
“It was a great match, They were a great team; we just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” Lincolnview coach Katrina Smith, the NWC girls soccer Coach of the Year, observed. “We had some chances but the wet field didn’t help. The second half, we regrouped and played our game and the Jays just beat us on that goal.”
Tied at 1 at the end of regulation, the match went into the first of two overtime periods. The Lancers got the ball to start but neither team could muster any offense. Only the Blue Jays (4-12-1) got a shot-on-goal and each team got a corner kick in the first overtime.
The second overtime saw St. John’s get the ball to start but again neither team could get anything going; the defenses and goalkeeping for both teams (Thatcher and St. John’s sophomore Samantha Wehri) was excellent. Each team got one shot-on-goal in the second overtime as the shootout beckoned.
The Blue Jays got the ball to start the first half and it was a battle back and forth between both teams. For much of the first half, both teams tried to get an advantage over the other but neither was successful.
With the score tied at zero and the first half looking like it was going to be scoreless, Lancer senior forward Kaylee Thatcher beat Wehri to the left post to give Lincolnview a 1-0 lead with 1:54 showing
The Lancers (9-8) had four shots on-goal and two corner kicks; the Blue Jays had two shots on-goal and only one corner kick in the first half.
Lincolnview got the ball to start the second half and both teams continued their back-and-forth struggle to take control of the match.
With the clock winding down on the Blue Jays’ season, junior Sam Bonifas beat Lancer Julia Thatcher with 10:26 left on the clock to tie the match at one.
Lincolnview defender Hannah McCleery was given a yellow card with 8:32 left to play and St. John’s was given the chance to win the match in regulation. The Lancer defenders and J. Thatcher withheld the Blue Jay attack, ending regulation at 1-1.
The Blue Jays had five shots on-goal in regulation and five corner kicks; the Lancers got seven shots on-goal and three corner kicks.
The Blue Jays worked all season for that final moment, explained Munoz: “We have been prepared for something like this. Being down, the girls know that they still have a chance. The girls were mentally prepared and we didn’t want to leave it on the field, so if that meant going to PKs, we were ready. We just didn’t want to go home knowing that we could have done more.”
“If we were going to lose, I didn’t want to lose by a lot. I wanted it to go down to PKs and I wanted the other team to try and take the victory from us,” she added.
In the first matchup, Jefferson (5-10-2) quickly took control of the ball and the match. With 36:26 left in the first half, junior Brooke Hesseling struck for the first goal of the evening when she beat Mustang goalkeeper Kyra Plaugher to make it 1-0, Wildcats.
It took Allen East (7-9-1) almost the rest of the first half to get the equalizer. With 12:28 left, Savannah Silone crossed the ball from behind the right side of the net to the middle of the goal, where Cheyenne Bierly got off a beautiful header to beat Wildcat senior keeper Paige Miller to bring the match to a 1-1 tie.
For most of the first half, Allen East controlled the ball and the stats proved it: four corner kicks and five shots on-goal compared to just two shots on-goal and no corner kicks for Jefferson.
The second half started with Delphos getting the ball but Allen East quickly took control.
With 25:05 left in the second half, Silone got a goal of her own when she beat Miller to the right post to give the Mustangs a 2-1 lead.
With 24:29 remaining, Allen East’s Erica Fox left the game with an injury and was not able to return.
Delphos got a couple of last chances at a goal when freshman Logan Hamilton got two tries,but Plaugher stopped both attempts.
The Mustangs got a final goal with 39 seconds left when Abby Joyner beat Miller to the left post to give Allen East a 2-goal advantage and wipe out any hope for the Wildcats.
The Mustangs again controlled the ball and the stats for the whole match: nine shots on-goal and seven corner kicks, while the Wildcats got only five shots on-goal and no corner kicks.
“I thought we played pretty well and Allen East played pretty hard. I felt we got worn down towards the end but we continued to fight,” Jefferson first-year coach Josiah Stober said. “I’m very proud of my girls; they have done a lot this year. Having only 14 girls, they have fought through a lot this year and I’m just very proud of them.”
“We were a little sloppy; it was a little wet. We had a couple of missed touches on our behalf but we passed the ball well and scored when we needed to,” Allen East coach Lamar Houston said. “We struggled a little more than the first time we played Jefferson (Oct. 11); that is a credit to them. We’ve got a lot of seniors — we’ve got nine seniors on this team — so it’s good that they get to play another game here on Thursday.”
That would be 5 p.m. Versus Lima Central Catholic.