Eighty minutes of regulation, 14 minutes of overtime and five sets of penalty kicks could not determine a winner between Terre Haute North and Castle in the first semifinal match of the Class 2A Jasper Regional for girls high school soccer Wednesday night.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, the sixth set could.
After a North miss in the sixth round of PKs, Castle senior Abby Reiff found the upper-right corner of the net, giving her team a 2-1 victory. Castle will move on to face the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal match pitting No. 5-ranked Evansville Memorial vs. New Albany, which did not end before the Tribune-Star’s news deadline.
“We went with our top five [for the penalty kicks],” Castle coach Doug Diedrich explained afterward. “Then after our top five … we put it in our seniors’ hands. I had a senior hittin’ sixth and a senior hittin’ seventh.”
“That’s a terrible way to finish a game,” North first-year girls coach Kyle Baker reflected, adding that neither squad deserved to lose. “You’d like to see the game won or lost on the field [during regular soccer] … It’s just a coin flip, basically.”
Neither team could produce a goal in the first half, then they continued to go scoreless deep into the second half as goalkeepers Jaime McKee of North and Madison Brink of Castle kept the offenses frustrated.
But with 7 minutes and 13 seconds left in regulation, North’s Emilee Pemberton booted in a goal from about 12 yards out on the right side.
“It was a deflection and it came down to Emilee’s foot,” Baker said. “She made a great finish.”
Castle responded with 4:52 showing on the scoreboard when Hayley Shelton took advantage of a penalty kick by rolling the ball into the right side of the net. The penalty on North was called for tripping.
“It was a good call,” Baker admitted.
Tied 1-1, neither team scored in a pair of seven-minute OTs, setting the stage for the five sets of penalty kicks, which were not of the sudden-death variety.
The Patriots and Knights missed their first attempt, then North missed its second try. On Castle’s second try, Payton Johnson kicked the ball into the left side of the net to give her squad a 1-0 edge on PKs with three rounds remaining.
Starting the third round, North’s Kaleigh Sutliff evened the PK score at 1-1 by placing the ball into the left side of the net and Castle answered with a miss off the right post. A North miss in the fourth round of PKs was followed by a successful shot from Castle’s Katy Piering.
Down 2-1 in PKs with one more round to go, Pemberton again came through in the clutch, drilling the ball into the left side of the net to tie the score. A Castle miss pushed the game into sudden-death territory, where Reiff displayed her heroics in the sixth round of PKs.
“I thought we played fantastic,” Baker assessed as his players picked up their bags and headed to the bus to return to Terre Haute. “We came down here with the idea that we would prove we belonged here and I think we did.”
Baker described the spirited performance Wednesday as “a great way for the seniors to go out.”
“Sure, we would have liked to continue on,” he added. “But I think at the end of the day, they wanted to prove they belonged with some of the top teams in the state and they did that.”
Terre Haute North 0 1 0 0 0 — 1
Castle 0 1 0 0 1 — 2
THN — Emilee Pemberton (Spencer Grim), 7:13 2H
C — Hayley Shelton (penalty kick), 4:52 2H
Final penalty kicks
North — Grim miss, Elise Welch miss, Kaleigh Sutliff make, Jordan Bray miss, Pemberton make, Nicole Mikolajczyk miss.
Castle — Shelton miss, Payton Johnson make, Mallory Baker miss, Katy Piering make, Maddie Salzman miss, Abby Reiff make (game winner).
Next — Castle (13-2-4) will advance to play Evansville Memorial or New Albany for the regional title at 7 p.m. Saturday. North finished its season 13-6.