Extra PKs send Lady Panthers through
Eighty minutes wasn’t enough to decide the winner between Corydon Central and Salem. Neither was a pair of seven-minute overtimes. Neither was the first best-of-five penalty kicks.
It took seven penalty kicks. But, when Corydon Central keeper Lilli Weber made a save to her left on a kick by Salem’s Kaylea Klinglesmith, the party was on. Bouncing up and down near the penalty box, Corydon Central celebrated a 4-3 win (5-4 on penalties) over Salem in the semi-final of the Class 2A Scottsburg girls’ soccer sectional Thursday.
“That was unbelievable,” said Corydon Central senior Katelyn Paden. “Lilli, this is her first year playing and she’s done a phenomenal job. I’m so proud of her.”
The extra session of penalty kicks was sudden death. The first attempts from each team were saved. Next up for Corydon Central was senior Marley Elder, who beat Salem’s Olivia Weber with a low shot to the right.
Needing a save, Lilli Weber provided it, sending the Lady Panthers to the sectional final.
“I expected them to play the full 80 minutes but, about 55 minutes into the match, I pulled the coaches aside and talked about who was going to take PKs if it came to that,” said Corydon Central coach Derek Korte. “We had three freshmen taking PKs, which is outstanding.”
Up first for Corydon Central was Nathalie Laaz, whose shot rang the left post. After Corydon Central’s Ava Weber converted her goal, Salem’s Sydney Rogers sent an attempt up and over the bar, evening the score at 1-all after two rounds.
The next three kick-takers from both teams converted with Corydon Central’s Paden, Melanie Camacho and Avery Branham making good on attempts.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” said Paden. “I knew we could do it but, in the end, it was all good.”
The win in extra penalties helped avenge a regular season loss to the Lady Lions.
“We’ve really taken to conditioning, doing more running and eating better,” said Paden. “We’ve come together as a family and worked more intensely so we can handle games like this.”
During the course of the game in regular time, neither team could hold a lead for longer than six minutes.
Salem notched the opening goal just a minute into the match when Karly Sweeney slipped past the Corydon Central defense for an open look on goal.
Come the seventh minute, Corydon Central was on a break, with Branham feeding Paden for a goal after she sped past the Salem defense to level the score at 1-all.
Taking a long free kick from the back line, Corydon Central’s Elder sent a ball ahead that found the foot of Ava Weber. She was able to finish a goal, putting Corydon Central up 2-1 in the 15th minute.
One minute later, however, Salem answered with Samantha Calhoun knocking in a goal on a scramble for a loose ball.
Corydon Central nearly scored with six minutes to play in the opening half when Paden drew a foul to set up a 25-yard try from Branham. Her lofting shot over a Salem wall was narrowly tipped away by Olivia Weber.
“Instead of packing it in and playing two defensive lines and playing opportunistic out front, we were able to spread the field a little bit,” said Korte. “We gave Salem a different look from us, and it paid off. We are blessed to have some awesome athletes out front. Our athleticism is getting deeper, too.”
In the second half, Yonkers started the Lady Panthers’ offense with a free kick near midfield. Paden got her head on an attempt that was saved. There for the rebound goal was Ava Weber, putting Corydon Central back in front 3-2 with 34:31 to play.
“We got a couple balls through, but we possessed the ball much better,” said Korte. “We had a purpose with our passing, which is something we’ve worked on.”
Three minutes later, Salem scored an equalizer on a penalty kick. Brooklyn Brown was fouled in the box and stepped to the penalty spot, finishing the opportunity.
During the next 30 minutes plus overtime, neither team could put in a game-winner. Corydon Central’s defense, anchored by seniors Elder and Yonkers, held Salem out the rest of the way.
“We can talk about strikers all day, but our defenders were tremendous, sending big balls up field to advance the ball,” said Korte.
The win was thrilling for Paden and the Lady Panthers.
“This is very exciting,” said Paden. “In my three years of playing, this is the first time we’ve come this far. With the season we’ve had, this shows our growth. We’ve been able to compete more this year.”
Class 2A Madison Boys’ Soccer Sectional
The Corydon Central boys’ soccer team went to penalty kicks last Tuesday in a match-up with Charlestown.
During the regular season, the two programs split a pair of meetings. In the post-season, Charlestown survived a penalty-kick shootout to defeat the co-Mid-Southern Conference champions 2-1. The shoot-out score was 5-4 in favor of the Pirates.
Both teams scored first-half goals, but neither could generate another in the second half or a pair of seven-minute overtime periods.