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PKs golden for Panthers

Over and over again during the course of regulation and with tired legs through the overtime sessions, Corydon Central had trouble keeping shots on goal.
Tied at 1-1 after 94 minutes (two seven-minute overtime periods), Charlestown and Corydon Central went to penalty kicks Monday night during the first round of the Class 2A Floyd Central Sectional.
Stepping off from the penalty spot, Corydon Central’s Eddie Chavez, Ryan Shewmaker and Drew Uesseler drove home powerful strikes to the back of the net. Those three shot takers were all the Panthers needed to pull out the PK win.
Goal keeper Nathan Shehorn took care of the rest. He made two terrific saves on Charlestown penalty attempts while a shot by Isai Galvan sailed over the bar. The three misses allowed Corydon Central to win the PK battle (best of five attempts each) 3-1. They officially won the match 2-1.
‘Nathan came up big right off the bat in penalty kicks,’ Corydon Central coach Greg Robinson said. ‘I think that deflated (Charlestown) a lot. When you make that first stop, it’s huge.’
Once Trent Wright’s attempt to the bottom left was batted away by Shehorn, Chavez stepped up for Corydon Central. One of Corydon Central’s key centerbacks, Chavez used his power to drive in the first attempt.
Charlestown’s keeper, Matthew Parrella took the next shot for the Pirates, beating his counterpart for their lone goal.
Shewmaker and Uesseler made good on their attempts for Corydon Central, while Charlestown’s Galvan missed high.
With players on Corydon Central’s sideline toeing the line, once Shehorn saved Demetrio Ortuno’s attempt, the flood of Panthers raced to mob their sophomore keeper.
‘I was getting choked up a little bit when they were lifting me up,’ Shehorn said of the celebration. ‘It was a good win. Winning it for the seniors in such an intense moment is really cool.’
Recent practices for the Panthers have featured taking and defending penalty kicks.
‘You don’t end tie games with penalties in the regular season, but, from the standpoint of if you get fouled in the box, you get that kick,’ Robinson said. ‘People need to know how to play them. We started about three, four weeks ago ending our practices with penalty kicks. I think it paid off for us a little bit.’
Shehorn said his approach to defending penalty kicks was simple.
‘Watch the waist,’ he said. ‘That’s the one secret I’ve learned. If they get a real twist in there, I know where it’s likely going. Our shots were pin-point and great shots. It was pretty amazing.’
The win was Corydon Central’s fifth of the season. Many have come in the final month.
‘It validates how we’ve played the final month,’ Robinson said. ‘The kids have shown improvement and have gotten to know each other a little more. We lose some core parts but will have a lot of kids coming back. This win is a good sign for now and a good sign for the future.’
Corydon Central knocked hard on the door in the opening half in search of a goal but came away empty. During the first 40 minutes, the Panthers out-shot their Mid-Southern Conference rival 9-7.
Logan Lee and Zack Smith sent several diagonal balls in the attacking third, creating chances from the midfield for Corydon Central. Shots, however, wouldn’t go.
Shewmaker used his speed to set up a shot early but missed up and over. Uesseler and Smith had chances one-on-one with the keeper, Parrella, but misfired. In the final few minutes of the first half, Uesseler ripped a left-footed boot that was knocked away by Parrella.
Trent Wright threatened for Charlestown at times early on, bending balls from the left wing toward goal. Those attempts were well defended by the Panthers, including a handful of Shehorn saves.
Luck shifted for Corydon Central quickly in the next 40 minutes. Uesseler found open space 30 yards from goal and sent another left-footed try toward goal. This time the ball found the upper right corner, giving Corydon Central a 1-0 edge with 39:24 left to play.
Charlestown had a few free-kick chances but couldn’t score. The Pirates broke through with 20 minutes remaining with an Andrew Mattingly goal.
Pressing late, Corydon Central earned three corner kicks in the final five minutes. The Panthers also had a pair of relatively close free kicks, but none of the set pieces resulted in goals.
‘We got 8,000 shots, and none of them went in,’ Robinson said. ‘We probably played 3/4 of the game on our end of the field. It’s what you want. You’d like to put some balls in, but a one-goal lead is never good.’
The overtime featured a few bursts of what energy was left from both squads. Charlestown’s Anthony Carey took a great attempt early that was saved by Shehorn. Corydon Central’s Devon Conrad and Smith had some counter attacks, but nothing came of them. Wright gave Charlestown another strike in the second overtime, but the attempt was headed away by Trevor Wiley.
‘We are moving the ball and working it the way we need to,’ Robinson said. ‘I felt like Zach Smith gave us a lift upfront from an energy standpoint. He was in the middle of making things happen. He hadn’t played up front a lot, so I was impressed with that.’
The win advances Corydon Central to the semi-final round to face Jeffersonville. The Red Devils defeated Silver Creek 3-0 in the late game Monday. The semi-final will take place today (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. New Albany will take on Floyd Central in the opposite semi-final at approximately 7 p.m.

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