The 515 wins on penalty kicks

BY KYLIE SEBERT | MARCH 09, 2010 7:30 AM

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An intense match led to overtime penalty kicks between undefeated the 515 and Flash on Monday night in the Bubble. In a dramatic finish, 515 junior Katie Nordquist scored the final penalty kick to win her team’s third-straight women’s intramural soccer championship.

Lacking a substitution, the 515 women from Des Moines grew tired in the second half but fought through to the finish.

“If we would have had a sub or were in better shape, it would have gone better,” senior Abbey Betlach said. “They [Flash girls] were in good shape, I feel, but they were also all freshmen.”

Despite this, the 515 began the game by leading.

With the first half winding down and the score tied at 0, 515 took action. Nordquist passed the ball from midfield to senior Danna Shrader, who sneaked the ball in for the first goal.

Though Flash had countless attacks on goal, junior goalie Anne Witherspoon allowed the 515 to maintain a 1-0 lead until halftime.

In the second half, Flash moved the ball down the field and attacked the goal, but Witherspoon did not let up. Her six-consecutive saves allowed 515 to remain ahead.

“We just couldn’t finish the great attacks down the field,” Flash’s Kristina Nieman said. “The goalie was tough.”

However, as the game advanced, Flash’s persistent attacks produced a mistake by 515 with an accidental shank into its own goal. The game was now tied 1-1 with five minutes left.

Exhaustion visibly set in, and 515 struggled to hold off the Flash attack. Yet, defense prevailed and the game proceeded into a five-minute “golden goal” overtime, in which the first team to score would win.

It was not until 30 seconds remained that a glimmer of hope emerged for Flash. Neiman attacked from the left side in what looked like a definite goal, but Witherspoon’s experience enabled her to make a great save. The game went into second overtime, which consisted of penalty kicks.

Flash freshman Kaitlin Hillner took the first kick and scored. The next five kicks were goals, and just when it seemed the game would continue into sudden death, Flash missed its fourth penalty kick.

This meant one of 515’s experienced players would have to miss a penalty kick against a brand-new goalie. Experience won.

The women of 515 have been playing together for years. Their team consists of members of the same club team in high school, and they continued once they reach the UI. Witherspoon will try to lead 515 into another championship season next year.

“We will hold tryouts next year and become even better,” Witherspoon said, joking. “But seriously, we will continue playing next year and hope to repeat again.”

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