In a game of teams looking to gain momentum for the upcoming district tournaments, the Pacific Lady Indians edged St. Francis Borgia Regional Friday night at Borgia, 2-1 (6-5 on penalty kicks).
“It was pretty amazing,” Pacific Head Coach Todd Dempsey said. “I think from the start we gave up that first goal and I was really worried thinking they were bringing it to us. I’m not sure what changed, but our girls accepted the challenge, stepped up and played really hard. I think we outplayed them for the final 60 minutes of the game going into overtime. When we got to the overtime, I told the girls that I thought we were going to win this game. To their credit, they kept believing and working hard. It’s a shame it had to come through two rounds of PKs, but we’ll take it.”
Borgia Head Coach Mackenzie Haddox said it was not the ending the team envisioned.
“Penalty kicks is a tough way to go,” Haddox said. “I thought our girls played a good game leading up to that point. We could have done a better job of connecting passes. We did a lot of kicking and going. They played hard. They always play hard.”
Pacific (8-11) is the fourth seed in the Class 3 District 9 Tournament while Borgia (5-12) is the top seed in the Class 2 District 8 Tournament.
“For us to come up against Union, who has lost one game, is going to be a challenge,” Dempsey said. “They might have come back to the pack this week a little bit. They play a very tough schedule, too. We’re starting to get girls back who have been out for some time and that’s solidifying things. I also think they’re realizing that it’s getting toward the end of the season and they’re starting to understand the impact of that. They’re playing with a lot of heart. Hopefully we can ride that through our senior night and into the district tournament.”
Penalty kicks is the last thing either coach expected from the game.
“It was our last game of the week and I told them to give everything they had,” Haddox said. “They fought. They’re very good about not giving up and fighting through everything. It was one of those games where we had opportunities and we couldn’t finish them.”
Borgia took the lead in the 15th minute on a goal by Hannah Herbst.
“When you get an early goal, you’ve got to keep your composure going forward,” Haddox said.
The Lady Knights led at the half, 1-0.
In the opening minute of the second half, Pacific won a free kick on the left side, 32 yards out. Kaitie Adkins scored on a thunderbolt, beating Borgia goalkeeper Abby Mueller high to the middle of the net to tie it.
“That was the spark we needed early in the second half,” Dempsey said. “That’s something we talked about doing at the half, coming out and playing with a little more intensity. We wanted to ramp up the pressure and that exactly what we needed. I think it was the turning point for us. I think that’s where you saw us become more the aggressors than sitting back on our heels.”
Haddox said Adkins did a perfect job.
“That was a very, very good free kick,” Haddox said. “You’ve got to give her credit. That was a fantastic shot.”
And that’s how it stood through the remainder of regulation and two overtimes.
In the first-round of penalty kicks:
• Pacific’s Abby Layton missed;
• Borgia’s Hannah Overman scored;
• Pacific’s Paige Allen scored;
• Borgia’s Anya Castelli scored;
• Pacific’s Emma Plante missed;
• Borgia’s Anna Eckelkamp missed;
• Pacific’s Corynn Boyer scored;
• Borgia’s Elizabeth Hellebusch scored;
• Pacific’s Adkins scored; and
• Borgia’s Herbst had her shot saved by Megan Meyers.
Tied 3-3, the teams each sent five more shooters out.
“That’s my fault,” Dempsey said. “Penalty kicks aren’t our strong suit because I don’t anticipate us going to those types of situations in games. I almost feel it’s a waste of practice time to spend that much time on something which might happen once or twice a season. I told them not to change anything and just put the shots on goal. Make the goalkeeper make a save.”
Haddox agreed that inexperience played a part in the penalty kicks.
“Abby Mueller does a good job,” said Haddox. “She does a good job staying focused. I’m sure part of our penalty kicks was inexperience. We don’t take a lot of penalty kicks because most of our games don’t go that far. Being put into a situation you’re not used to is difficult to go through. For the most part, they handled it pretty good. You don’t get to the second five very often. Tensions and emotions were high and we just couldn’t finish it.”
In the second round, which went on sudden death, the following players attempted shots:
• Pacific’s Maddie King missed;
• Borgia’s Gretchen Overman missed;
• Pacific’s Morgann Harrison had her shot saved;
• Borgia’s Kara Voss missed;
• Pacific’s Carly Clark scored;
• Borgia’s Sydney Castelli scored;
• Pacific’s Haley Lucas scored;
• Borgia’s Cailey Foss scored;
• Pacific’s Lily Hardcastle scored; and
• Borgia’s Abby Matt had her shot stopped.
“Megan was upset because she was not in goal for the other PK game we had against Rolla,” Dempsey said. “She really wanted to be in that situation. She relishes that type of pressure. I told her she only needed to save two and it worked out. It was a very sweet save for her.”
Borgia’s seniors honored before the game were Anna Mattli, Eckelkamp, Elizabeth Thompson, Matt and Amanda Virtudazo.