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Wolverines prevail over La Conner in shootout | Girls soccer
The surge of butterflies was just about more than she could bear.
But with an opportunity to strike the winning blow against their longtime rival, Friday Harbor's Isabel Place fought off the intensity of the moment and drilled the ball into the back to lead the Wolverines to a dramatic overtime win at home, Tuesday, against La Conner.
"It feels really good now," said Place, who nailed the winning goal in a shootout knotted at 4-4 apiece in overtime. "But with so much pressure I felt like I was about to cry."
With the win, the Wolverines (6-0 league, 8-5 overall) swept their two-game season series against La Conner and gained ground in the Northwest 1A/2B League title chase. They host Orcas (2-4 league) Thursday and Mount Vernon Christian (4-2) Monday, Oct. 28, in their final two league games.
With the top spot the league standings at stake and the Braves looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Wolverines on their home field, Friday Harbor Coach Paul Hopkins expected Tuesday's battle to be intense. It didn't disappoint.
"For this rivalry it was another classic," Hopkins said. "When we were in the shootout I was having a hard time breathing."with most classics, the match was marked by controversy as well, one which the La Conner faithful won't likely to dismiss anytime soon.
With La Conner up by a point in the shootout, and the Wolverines in need of a goal to tie the score and force another round, Emily Guard struck a shot that missed wide to the right. Guard was awarded another attempt, however, as the referee ruled that he had yet to signal "ready" with his whistle when Wolverines leading scorer had unleashed the failed kick.
Guard drilled the ball into the net with the second attempt to even the score.
With freshman Hayden Mayer defending the goal, Friday Harbor held the Braves scoreless in regulation and in the two 5-minute periods of sudden death that followed. Mayer, guarding the net in her first-ever shoot-out, faced six shots by the Braves, blocking one and watching another miss wide, which gave Place a chance to drive in the winning goal.
"They were going right and they going left, and I didn't really know which way to react," she said. "It was so nerve-wracking I could feel it in my stomach."