Marysville’s Emma Armstrong (12) collides with an Olentangy Liberty player during a Division I tournament game Saturday evening. The Lady Monarchs won, 4-3, in a shootout. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
There may not be a more pressure-packed situation in soccer than when you have to go one-on-one against another player.
It’s especially tense when those situations occur with an important game on the line.
The ninth-seeded Lady Monarchs of Marysville faced that type of encounter Saturday evening when they hosted No. 20 Olentangy Liberty in a Division I tournament game.
The contest was the first MHS girls soccer match played on the school’s new turf field.
The Lady Monarchs and Lady Patriots battled through 80 hard-fought minutes of regulation, only to see the match remain in a 0-0 stalemate.
An extra half-hour of action (two, 15-minute sudden-death overtime sessions) failed to produce a winner as the score remained deadlocked.
By rules, that narrowed the action down to a shootout, perhaps one of the most nerve-racking situations for high school soccer players to encounter.
Under the shootout rules, each team selects five players to attempt close-in shots against the other team’s keeper.
The teams shoot at the goal on an alternating basis.
If one team scores the most goals during that process, a winner is declared.
If the combatants are still tied, the game continues until there is a winner.
The Lady Monarchs made sure that one shootout was all that was needed as they defeated the Patriots, 4-3.
Both teams had opportunities to score during 80 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of sudden-death.
When neither could, the pressure fell on MHS keeper Brielle Young and her Liberty counter-part Maddie Kelley.
The Patriots got the first attempt in the shootout.
Emma Lindsey sent the ball toward the net, only to have Young come up with a save.
MHS’ Kindall Duke lined up the ball against Kelley and let it fly.
Kelley could not come up with the ball and Marysville led, 1-0.
That lead did not last long as Liberty’s Olivia McKain tied the game at 1-1 with her shot.
Maddie Gognat gave MHS a 2-1 lead, but the tension mounted as Liberty’s Quinn Casey scored for a 2-2 tie.
The Lady Monarchs couldn’t find the goal on their third attempt.
Liberty then took a 3-2 lead on a shot from Mia Hill.
Karleigh Sutter rose to the occasion for MHS as her offering tied the match at 3-3.
Nora Gilger sent a shot toward Young, but it was too high, leaving the score in a stalemate.
That’s when Marysville senior Emma Armstrong lined up the ball against Kelley.
With fans on both sides of the field holding their breaths, Armstrong drilled the ball toward the net.
The sphere got past Kelley and the Lady Monarchs walked off the field with the victory
“My legs were shaking when I went to kick the ball,” said Armstrong. “I just tried to put it to the right side of the net where their keeper couldn’t reach it.
“I really didn’t process what happened until I heard everyone screaming.”
“We’ve been practicing shootout type of situations,” said Monarch head coach Nathan Andrews. “I just never thought we’d have to use it during a match.”
Andrews said he selected the five players for the shootout based on experience.
“They’re all veterans … either juniors or seniors,” he said.
Young said her mindset helped during the shootout.
“We were playing against a well-matched team,” she said. “We fought hard the whole time.
“I just tried to have confidence in myself and my team,” said Young. “That’s the key.”
The Lady Monarchs, who improved to 11-3-3, will return home on Wednesday and host No. 21 Pickerington Central at 7 p.m.
Central upset second-seeded Pickerington North, 2-1, earlier in the day on Saturday.
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