Penalty kicks proved profitable for the Ft. Zumwalt West Lady Jaguars Tuesday in a 2-1 district soccer victory over Washington in Troy.
Ft. Zumwalt West (11-10-1) outscored Washington (12-12-1) by a 4-2 margin after the teams played to a 1-1 tie through 110 minutes.
“I thought the girls played very well,” Washington Head Coach Chris Lanemann said. “I thought for the most part from the middle of the first half on that we outplayed them, especially in the second half. They got very few looks in the second half. We hit the crossbar and the inside of the goal post. We just couldn’t get that break. We worked hard. We deserved a better fate I think.”
Ft. Zumwalt West went on to beat Timberland for the district title Thursday, 1-0.
When the game went into overtime, it followed every other match in the district so far. The previous two games, including the Timberland-Troy game which preceded the Washington-Ft. Zumwalt West contest, also went to overtime. The first game Tuesday ended in a 1-0 Timberland victory in the first overtime.
However, the Lady Jays and Lady Jaguars went far beyond the other two games. After one 15-minute overtime session, the teams were still tied at 1-1. The same was true after the second overtime.
“Ft. Zumwalt West is a very good team,” said Lanemann. “Even though you look at their record and they’re .500, they play against very good competition. In my opinion, to outplay them for the majority of the game like we did shows the character of our team all season. We played with a lot of injuries throughout the season. I’m very proud of the way we played the entire season.”
Washington junior goalkeeper Mary McGilvray and Ft. Zumwalt West sophomore Carly Ragusky stepped into the goal to face the other team’s shooters. Ft. Zumwalt West shot first.
• Ft. Zumwalt West freshman Kayla Day scored on a shot which hit off the crossbar and deflected into the net. Ft. Zumwalt West led 1-0.
• Washington junior Halee Nurnberger shot on the ground to the left, but Ragusky stopped the ball.
• Ft. Zumwalt West junior Gracynn Vaughn then scored to the right to make it 2-0 in penalty kicks.
• Washington sophomore Martha Noelker then buried a shot to the middle of the net to make it 2-1.
• Washington needed a save and McGilvray came up with the needed stop, thwarting Ft. Zumwalt West senior Jacqueline Linder, keeping it at 2-1.
• Washington senior Liz Brinkmann then missed the goal to the left and it was still 2-1.
• Ft. Zumwalt West junior Jessica Ottomeyer then scored to the left to make it 3-1. For the game to continue, Washington needed to score on its last two shots and get another save.
• Washington junior Arika Elliott gave Washington the goal it needed, shooting to the left, cutting it to 3-2.
• Ft. Zumwalt West senior Lauren Smith then ended it, again going to the left, to score. With the score at 4-2 and only Washington senior Taylor Andrews still to shoot, the game was ended.
“Losing a district game on penalty kicks is one of the worst ways to decide a game this important,” Lanemann said. “I would have rather played until somebody scored. It would have been better than penalty kicks.”
In regulation play, Ft. Zumwalt West controlled play early in the game before Washington started to press for chances. The Lady Jaguars had the best chance, having a shot bounce off the bottom of the crossbar before coming back out.
The game was tied at the half and stayed that way until the 54th minute. Ft. Zumwalt West junior Kerri Morris worked around Andrews on the right side and crossed the ball as McGilvray came out to challenge.
Freshman Sarah Brewer was able to knock in the pass to give Ft. Zumwalt West the 1-0 lead.
That score stood until the 70th minute, when Nurnberger worked in on the left side and put a shot into the high right side of the net to tie it.
Washington had other chances in the second half and overtime.
“She had other chances to win the game,” Lanemann said. “On one, I was jumping in the air. I just knew Halee was going to bury the chance and she put it high. We worked hard and had many chances to play in the second half and into overtime.”
Lanemann said Washington put up with many injuries during the campaign.
“We played with a lot of adversity throughout the season,” Lanemann said. “We had four or five starters out for much of the season.”
Washington played its final match of the season without junior midfielder Brianna Pagan.
“That really hurts,” Lanemann said. “She’s a kid who normally plays 75 minutes a game. She barely ever comes out. To not have those minutes, you’ve got to ask someone else to step up and play a bigger role. It’s tough not to have her out there. She’s like the Energizer Bunny. She never stops and is such a good player. To miss her was tough.”
Ft. Zumwalt West also had chances. Near the end of regulation, the Lady Jaguars pressured McGilvray and forced her to save the ball or tip it over to keep the game going.
The game got physical as well. As it pressed into overtime, both teams fought hard. Ft. Zumwalt West picked up the first card after a hard challenge.
Washington graduates three players from this year’s team, Andrews, Brinkmann and Destiny Hofstetter.
“We lose three very good seniors,” Lanemann said. “We have 14 very good juniors coming back next year. It’s a tough way to go out this year, but we’re looking forward to what we have coming in next year.”