How nervous was Megan Robertson as she walked toward the penalty spot, Central Valley’s soccer season riding on her foot in a PK shootout?
“Really nervous, because I’ve been missing some in practice,” Robertson said.
But with one swing of her right leg, Robertson’s anxiety was replaced the “best feeling ever”: a horde of Bears charging the field after an exhilarating 2-1 win over Sumner in a first-round State 4A soccer match Wednesday night at Spokane Falls Community College.
“What an awesome feeling,” said Robertson, whose teammates went through every emotion in the book on a chilly night at SFCC: confidence, frustration and high anxiety in one of the longest penalty-kick shootouts in history.
Tied after the first five kickers for each side, CV and Sumner went to sudden death. The underdog Spartans went first, connecting on four straight kicks to keep the pressure on CV.
Four times, the top-ranked Bears faced elimination with a miss, but four times they held, thanks to pressure kicks made by Maggie Ames, Kailyn LaBrosse, Kalle Crouch and Marissa Orrino.
Finally, Sumner’s 10th kicker, Sidney Snider, put the ball over the bar to set the stage for Robertson and send the Bears to a quarterfinal match Saturday against University.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said CV coach Andres Monrroy, whose team had cruised through the Greater Spokane League and district but struggled to crack Sumner’s defense.
Pushing forward all night, the Bears (16-0) paid for it early. Sumner countered and got a goal from Sam Larberg in the 12th minute.
After several missed opportunities, Robertson, a junior forward, found space at the top of the box, “got a good luck and gave it a good kick” to level the score with 3 minutes left in the first half.
Confidence was high at halftime, goalkeeper A.J. Crooks said.
“We were dominating and it seemed like we had the ball 80 percent of the time,” said Crooks, who faced only five shots and had two saves.
Crooks also had two saves in the shootout, while Kaelyn Barnes, Mallory Daines and Madylyn Simmelink converted PKs early in the shootout.
Central Valley had 14 shots, seven of them on goal. Sumner keeper Madison Hanenburg made seven saves.
“I’m just proud of my girls,” Monrroy said. “They were confined and we controlled the match, especially in the first half.
“But I knew that if it came to a PK, I had complete confidence in A.J.”