Westport's Karlee McGee saves a penalty kick attempt by Keene's Brittany Guerin.
The Westport varsity girls soccer team had home-field advantage for the second time against Keene, and were able to score a win in a penalty kick shootout in the opening round of the Section VII/Class D tournament Oct. 27.
The third-seeded Eagles (11-2-0) scored in the first minute of the game, as Delany Sears tallied her ninth goal of the season on the first assist of the season for Emily Rascoe.
In the 67th minute, Emma Gothner was able to trap a deflection off a Westport defender and put the ball past Eagles goalie Karlee McGee to score the equalizer for the Beavers (5-10-1), and the two teams remained scoreless throughout the final 13 minutes of regulation and the 30 minutes of overtime.
“When we got to the second overtime, I started to think about it,” Westport head coach Brad Rascoe said concerning a penalty kick finale.
In the shootout, Sears was turned away by Keene’s Tucker Geiger on a diving save, while Sadie Holbrook fired a shot that was deflected by McGee but was able to sneak across the goalline to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead.
Westport’s Samantha Roy was also rejected by Geiger in the second round, while Anna Kowanko missed wide with her attempt, keeping the score 1-0 heading into Westport next shooter, Brendee Russell.
“I was thinking that I had to make this,” Russell said. “I waited to see where the goalie set up. It seemed like she was favoring the left side, so I went to the right.”
“I just said to her, let’s go,” Rascoe added.
Russell’s instincts were correct, and the Eagles tied the shootout at 1-1 before Gothner connected past McGee to give the Beavers a 2-1 lead.
Willa McKinley leveled the score in the next round, while McGee made a save on a shot by Brittany Guerin, making the score 2-2 for the fifth and final shooters. For Westport, they turned to Allison Sherman, who had taken the only two penalty kicks the Eagles had attempted all year.
“I had taken two kicks earlier this season and I had gone left on both,” Sherman said. “I noticed the keeper was playing that way, so I decided to go the opposite way.”
“The only kid that has been taking penalty shots this year is Allison, and that is why she was the last shooter,” Rascoe said.
Sherman connected, and the final attempt for Keene and shooter Megan Hall missed the target, giving the Eagles the win.
“It’s a great feeling,” Russell said. “We were equally matched and they are a great team.”
“I try to focus on where the ball is placed,” McGee said about the shootout. “I thought that the (last) shot was going to be up. I had a lot of confidence.”
“She was very nervous going in,” Rascoe said about his keeper. “I told them after that now you know what it feels like to be in the penalty shootouts. For me, I went with my gut feeling. This time it paid off, next time it might not.”
The Eagles will next face the second-seeded Elizabethtown-Lewis Lady Lions (11-6-0), who got a goal in the 16th minute by Kylee Cassavaugh (12th) on an assist from Emily Morris (10th) for a 1-0 win over the Indian Lake/Long Lake Lady Orange. Jennifer McGinn made five saves for the Lions in the victory.
“I think that we can play with ELCS and have a good game,” said the Eagles Russell.
“We have played them in the past,” said Rascoe, as the two teams are closer matched than any other teams they face, but did not meet in the regular season. “They have some big guns. We just have to take this game and see how it goes. We have surprised a lot of people and have surprised ourselves throughout the season.”
On the other half of the Class D bracket, the Chazy Lady Eagles (16-1-0) scored a 5-0 victory against the Willsboro Lady Warriors (3-13-1).
Megan Reynolds opened the scoring on a penalty kick in the 28th minute and scored again in the 43rd minute (Caitlyn LaPier assist), while Hannah Laurin scored in the 36th minute (Kirsten Doran), Amanda Kempainen scored in the 40th and LaPier scored in the 62nd minute (Rachel Pombio).
LaPier is the leading scorer alive in Section VII girls, adding to her totals with her 14th goal and 21st assist.
Stephanie Blanchard had 18 saves for the Warriors, while Katharine Tooke made just one save in picking up her 14th shutout of the season.
The Eagles will face Wells in the semifinals, who scored a 1-0 win over Minerva/Newcomb.
Class B boys playoffs
The fourth-seeded Peru Indians scored in the first minute of the second 10-minute overtime period as they defeated the fifth-seeded Saranac Chiefs, 2-1.
Justin Wiley scored the eventual golden goal for the Indians (8-7-1) in the 91st minute assisted by Ian Spear. The Indians had a 1-0 lead in the third minute of the game thanks to a William Thew goal, but Kyle Erikson scored the equalizer for the Chiefs (6-9-2) in the 68th minute off a Brandon Terry assist.
The Indians will play the Plattsburgh High Hornets (14-0-1) in the semifinals.
In the other half of the Bracket, the Beekmantown Eagles and Northeastern Clinton Cougars cruised into the semifinals.
The second-seeded Cougars (11-1-2) earned a 7-0 win against the AuSable Valley Patriots (0-15-0). Kyle McCarthy netted three goals for the Cougars, while Avery Trombley, Liam McDonough, Bo LeDuc and Austin Tetreault each scored once.
The third seeded-Eagles (10-5-0) scored a 6-0 win against the Saranac Lake Red Storm (2-11-0) as Zach Towle scored a pair of goals and Zach Brockway, MacCullen Cope, Brenden Carnright and Adam Goldfarb each scored once. Chris McIlroy made six saves for the shutout.
Class C boys playoffs
Haile Thompson contributed to both goals for the Lake Placid Blue Bombers as they advanced past Seton Catholic and into the Class C final against Northern Adirondack.
Thompson assisted on the opening goal of the game, scored by Keegan Barney, to give the Blue Bombers (5-8-0) a 1-0 lead. Thompson then scored in the 43rd minute to give the Bombers a 2-0 lead.
Adam Tedford scored his 15th goal of the season in the 61st minute to cut the lead in half, but the Knights (3-12-0) were unable to rally.
J.P. Morrison made 11 saves for the win.
Today in sectionals
The Class D boys soccer playoffs are the final soccer opening round remaining, as the top seeded Willsboro Warriors (12-2-2) will rest while waiting to find out their semifinal opponent, either the fourth-seeded Schroon Lake Wildcats or the fifth-seeded Minerva/Newcomb Mountaineers.
The second-seeded Chazy Eagles (13-3-0) will open their state title defense at home against seventh-seeded Westport (0-12-0) at 5:30 p.m.
The third-seeded Elizabethtown-Lewis Lions (10-3-2) will also play at home, hosting the sixth-seeded Wells Indians.
In football, the sectional season gets started with a matchup in Class D between the second-seeded Tupper Lake Lumberjacks (5-3) and the third-seeded Moriah Vikings (1-7) at 7 p.m. in Tupper Lake.
AuSable Valley will also host a Class C playoff game, as the second-seeded Patriots (2-5) will look to defeat Ogdensburg (6-2) for the second time this season with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Ticonderoga Sentinels scored a 32-0 win against the Plattsburgh High Hornets Oct. 27 in a matchup of the top seed in Class D and the only B team to not earn a playoff spot.
The Hornets were only able to muster 24 yards of total offense, led by 12 rushing yards by Andrew Brown and 10 rushing yards by Sean Shea.
The Hornets finished the 2011 season with a record of 1-7.