October 26th, 2010

Valkyries Lose Shot At Soccer Four-Peat

Chris Jung

Senior Writer


Valkyries Lose Shot At Soccer Four-Peat
photo by Chris Jung

SHA falls 1-0 to Manual in state sub-sectional on PKs

DuPont Manual senior Emma Brown didn't play during Monday's girls state soccer sub-sectional game between her Crimsons and Sacred Heart Academy.

In fact, a ligament injury to her left leg kept Manual Head Coach Rick Underwood from even allowing Brown to dress in the team uniform.

But on Tuesday evening, on the campus of SHA, Brown was dressed and ready in the event that the game that was carried over from Monday went to a penalty kick shootout. And after a pair of scoreless, five-minute "golden goal" periods and both teams still deadlocked in 0-0 tie, a shootout is exactly what happened.

In that shootout, following eight penalty shots from the Valkyries and Crimsons (four per team), it was tied at 1-1 and Manual's Brown hobbled up to the ball to take her turn on one good leg. Her adenaline-charged shot flew right by a lunging Maddie Peabody, putting her team up 2-1, and as Mary Kate Schmidt's ground ball shot slammed off the shinguards of Manual goalkeeper Katie Pope, the Valkyries' hopes for a fourth-straight state championship was gone with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Region 6 champion.

Some SHA players buried their faces in their hands and fell to the ground. Some stood stonefaced with their hands on their hips. No matter the expression or reaction, all shared the exact common adjective: stunned.

On Monday, when the majority of the game actually took place, Sacred Heart kept pace with a physical Manual team and even managed to launch 50 shots on goal during the two 40-minute regulation halves and two 10-minute overtime halves, but could never find the back of the net.

During the game's first half of regulation and 11:38 until halftime, senior Kelsey Malyszek send a 20-foot rocket toward the goal, but Pope timed her jump perfectly and managed to punch the ball over the top of the goal's crossbar. With 18:19 to go in regulation, Eleanor Gabriel had a wide open look at the goal, but her shot from the left side of the field curved at the goal and glanced off the right post, causing an anxious SHA sideline to let out a frustrating exhale. During the first overtime, Devin Barnes' header off a corner kick drilled off the top crossbar.

Those would be the best looks that Sacred Heart would get on Monday.

Following 100 minutes of soccer and no goals for either team, the officials suspended the state tournament first-round game and ruled that the remainder would be completed on Tuesday.

That set up a wild scene on Tuesday evening, as a huge crowd showed up to watch the conclusion of this back and forth matchup.

During the resumed action, players from both sides seemed to have issues finding their footing following a day of rain and thunderstorms, which caused the field's turf surface to be slick. Following a relatively uneventful pair of the golden goal (formerly known as sudden death) periods, the teams prepared for the shootout where five girls from each team would get a chance to take a shot against the opposing goalkeeper, a one-on-one showdown from point blank range.

Manual standout senior Casey Whitfield was the first to go, but Peabody read her shot to the right and knocked away Whitfield's attempt with her leg. Andrea Distler went first for SHA, and her left-footed attempt squibbed just right of the post, leaving both teams without a converted PK. Elise Steinmetz was next for the Crimsons, and her shot found the net's left corner for a 1-0 Manual shootout lead. Senior Lucy Chauvin tried to answer for the Valkyries, but her shot flew right at goalkeeper Pope and was slapped away, keeping the shootout tally at 1-0 in favor of Manual, with three shooters from each team left to go.

Ellie Marsh was third for Manual and her shot seemed to have top spin as it soared toward Peabody, but the SHA goalkeeper let the ball slip off her hands and away from the goal, keeping her team in the hunt. The powerful leg of Malyszek proved to be the equalizer for SHA, as the senior defender confidently slammed home the Valkyries' first goal of the shootout into the upper right corner of the net, squaring the penalty kicks at 1-1.

Peabody made a sensational diving stop to her right to keep Manual's Chelsea Joliet from converting her attempt, which gave Erin Feger a chance to give SHA the lead. But Feger's attempt slammed off the right post and bounced back toward her, keeping the shootout at 1-1 and giving the fifth shooters - Brown (Manual) and Schmidt (Sacred Heart) the pressure-filled opportunities.

During regulation and all 30 minutes of overtime play, Peabody had nine saves, while her counterpart Pope had 33. Sacred Heart, which had won the previous three state championships in girls soccer, ended its season with 13 wins after playing one of the country's most difficult schedules. The Valkyries lose seven seniors from this dynasty, including Malyszek, Barnes, Feger, Chauvin, Allegra Forwith, Brooke Kimmel, and Peabody.

 

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