EHS wins suspended game on White’s PK

Published 9:19 am Thursday, October 15, 2015




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KINGSPORT – Penalty kicks to win a match can be either elation or devastation and on Wednesday, it was elation for the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones.

Junior Bella White’s penalty kick and goalkeeper Loran Campbell’s consecutive saves gave EHS a 1-1 (4-3) win in the district 1-AA tournament. The Lady Cyclones (7-8-2) will face University High at the ETSU soccer field today at 7 p.m. for the championship.

Both teams have moved on to the regional so this match determines who gets the home game; the loser will have to go on the road.

“All through practice today I wasn’t hitting them in the spots I usually do,” White said. “I was really psyching myself out, but I just wanted to put it in the back of the net like I always do. With this goal I was really focused….and scared.”

EHS missed on the first try as Cortlyn Holdren hit the left post and South’s Bri Watlington made her shot, giving the Lady Rebels the lead 1-0 and a big advantage with four shooters to go. Junior Linda Espino then made her shot, but not without incident, as she once again hit the crossbar.  But this time the ball bounced inside the net instead of away from it to tie it at 1-1.

Annette Odum gave the Lady Rebels the lead when she made her shot past Campbell to keep the advantage with South. Haley Burleson made her try to tie it at 2-2, and South lost the advantage. Sierra Deering was stonewalled by Campbell, who had an inkling where she would try and place her shot.

“In practice I watched her and she went left a lot,” Campbell said. “So I went that way. I was calm pretty much through it, but my emotions are going crazy right now. During the PK’s, I had to push everything down and just focus.”

Senior Lexi Williams made her shot for a 3-2 lead, but Rachel Phillips, who scored South’s only goal in regulation and overtime, also made her PK to make it 3-3 and send it to the last of the top five shooters.

Junior Abby Bryan fired over the net bringing Brooke Peters to the line with a chance to win it for South. She was obviously nervous as she almost struck the ball before the whistle and had to be reminded to wait.

She stepped back and fired her shot, but Campbell made the save, going to her right to keep the match at a draw.

That was when White – a left-footed kicker – stepped up. She went left and beat South goalkeeper Hope Hiester to give EHS a 4-3 lead.

“I think it gave me an advantage because left-footed people usually kick to the right side,” White said. “I shoot to the left side and I think it made the difference.”

Amber Bentley then stepped to the line and fired a hard one-hopper that Campbell kicked away. That was it and the Lady Cyclones stormed the goal frame and their heroine of the evening.

“I wish there was another mechanism for deciding these games,” said Lady Cyclones head coach Bill McClay. “They used to just reset the clock and play on, but even at the highest levels now they have gone to PK’s to decide it, so we’ll take it. (Cortlyn) has been almost automatic and she didn’t miss by much. The big thing we talked about was that the pressure is all on the shooter.

“I told Loran if you go one way and the ball goes the other I can accept that. Just don’t stand still. It’s not an easy chore at all. PK’s are a great way to win but a tough way to lose because you just came out of a match where the score was tied. They are all elated and they are so pumped up that they want to practice this evening.”