Bull­dogs elim­i­nate top-seeded Kent Is­land

Times-Record - - SPORTS - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

STEVENSVILLE — Becca Gib­bons wasn’t sure what she had just done.

Gib­bons knew her penalty kick was all good and le­git­i­mate as it set­tled into the up­per-right cor­ner of the net. But it wasn’t un­til she turned and saw her team­mates charg­ing to­ward her from mid­field that Gib­bons re­al­ized her penalty kick had se­cured a shootout vic­tory for North Caro­line High’s girls’ soc­cer team Tues­day night, Oct 30, over top-seeded Kent Is­land in a Class 2A East Sec­tion II semi­fi­nal at Andy Schipul Sta­dium.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it,” Gib­bons said after she scored North Caro­line’s third penalty kick of the shootout. “I froze for a se­cond. I wasn’t sure what just hap­pened.”

After 80 min­utes of score­less reg­u­la­tion, and two score­less 10-minute over­time pe­ri­ods, both teams se­lected five play­ers for the shootout.

North Caro­line went first and Tanya Haro steered a shot into the up­per-right cor­ner of the net past the lunge of Kent Is­land goal­keeper Madi Banks for a goal.

Kent Is­land’s first shooter, KK Karns, sent her PK over the net, but the Buc­ca­neers (104) were still in good shape as Banks leaped left to stop Pearl Sut­ton’s shot on North Caro­line’s se­cond at­tempt. Kent Is­land se­cond at­tempt missed the mark, though, as Mor­gan Gunn hit a low hard shot that struck the left post, keep­ing the Bull­dogs in front by one.

North Caro­line’s Kylie Phillips drilled her PK into the up­per left cor­ner to give the Bull­dogs a 2-0 lead in the shootout. Kent Is­land’s third shooter, McKen­zie Mo­gel, then sent a shot that sailed wide left, set­ting up Gib­bons.

“You run out there and try to get the jit­ters out, but you can’t not be ner vous,” Gib­bons said. “I stuck with what I was prac­tic­ing and it worked thank good­ness.

“I was just so ex­cited,” Gib­bons added. “That was a re­ally tough game. We’ve been work­ing re­ally hard for a long time and that was just a sweet, sweet vic­tory.”

A vic­tory that looked like it might never come.

Both Banks (12 saves) and North Caro­line’s Alyssa Deck (14 saves) were out­stand­ing through­out, sur­viv­ing col­li­sions as they charged from their goals to grab shots or lead passes that had gone too far be­fore an op­po­nent’s foot could pro­vide a po­ten­tial scor­ing touch.

“Both keep­ers played ex­cel­lent games,” Kent Is­land head coach Mike Leach said.

Kent Is­land al­most took a 1-0 lead in the

16th minute when Char­lotte Kra­tovil sent a cross from right wing that skipped right through the goal crease, only to be cleared by the Bull­dogs.

Five min­utes later, Sut­ton blasted a drive from about 20 yards away that just slipped over the cross­bar. Less than two min­utes later, North Caro­line’s Syd­ney Baker missed con­vert­ing a cross at the left post, keep­ing the game score­less.

Six min­utes after that, Banks sprinted of f her goal line and smoth­ered a ball be­fore get­ting run over my a team­mate and a North Caro­line striker. Banks again gave chase with 7:45 left in the first half, reach­ing a ball just be­fore get­ting slammed into by Baker and Hai­ley Chester.

“Phe­nom­e­nal,” North Caro­line head coach Joe Bild­stein said of the two keep­ers. “We had five point-blank shots. Madi was great. Both goalies were just ... I mean there were col­li­sions, run-ins. Shots off the cross­bar. What can you say?

Deck kept it score­less, leap­ing to punch away a shot with her right hand with 3 min­utes left in the first half, then scram­bling to re­trieve a re­bound after a shot by Karns.

Banks foiled Sarah Ferkler in the fourth minute of the se­cond half, then bat­ted away Haro’s bid for a goal off a di­rect kick five min­utes later. It re­mained a score­less stale­mate as Deck reached a through ball just be­fore get­ting crashed into by Mo­gel with three min­utes re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion.

In the se­cond OT, Kent Is­land’s Ally Heath struck a header over the cross­bar off a cor­ner. Then with un­der two min­utes re­main­ing, the Bucs’ Blair Goodrich hit a shot that al­most broke the goal line but was saved by Deck.

“Great bunch of girls,” said Bild­stein, who would fight back tears soon after when his son, Joey, came up from be­hind and de­liv­ered a big em­brace. “We gave them a game plan and they stuck with it.

“It feels like the feel­ing we had last year; we beat Park­side to get to Queen Anne’s,” Coach Bild­stein added. “And it looks like we are go­ing to meet up with them again.”

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

North Caro­line High’s girls’ soc­cer team cel­e­brates Tues­day night, Oct. 30, after de­feat­ing Kent Is­land in a shootout in a Class 2A East Sec­tion II semi­fi­nal.

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