WEST CHESTER — With a wide smile, Bellbrook High School girls’ soccer coach Zach Huffman acknowledged there are no easy games this time of year.
The Golden Eagles needed six penalty kicks in a shootout to finish off Cincinnati Mariemont following a 1-1 tie in regulation and overtime in the Division II Region 8 Southwest District 2 championship game on Thursday night at Lakota West High School.
The regulation goal was only the third Bellbrook (17-0-2) has given up all season.
“Mariemont played an unbelievable game against us,” said Huffman.
Both schools made three out of five in the initial best-of-five portion of the shootout.
On the sixth, Bekah Vine came up with a huge diving save on Sydney Tritsch’s attempt.
Jade Midtlien then slotted home the winner when Warriors’ keeper Sydney Nicholson guessed the wrong direction.
Prior to that, Bellbrook had made its first three PKs while Mariemont (14-4-1) had missed its third. Nicholson then made a huge save on Molly Spears. Then, with a chance to win it, Eagle Gabby Gerbic pushed her shot just right setting up the final sudden death kicks.
The shootout seemed almost inevitable as not much separated the two teams through 110 minutes of soccer.
Bellbrook scored the opener 4:52 before halftime when Audrey Spirk played a through ball to Bailey Sedlak.
Sedlak ran onto the ball just off the right post and pushed back across into the left corner of the net.
Despite absorbing a lot of pressure throughout the contest, it still took a 20-yard bomb from Jaxie Brokamp to tie things just 31-seconds into the second half.
Bellbrook moves on to the Regional semifinals where it will face the winner between Indian Hill and Waynesville on Tuesday night, Oct. 31.
Steve Freeze is a freelance writer for Greene County News.