BELLBROOK — Upstart Cincinnati St. Ursula had defending state champion Beavercreek on the proverbial ropes during Thursday’s Oct. 24 Division I district title match at Bellbrook High, but the champs prevailed in penalty kicks to win 5-3 in a shootout.
Neither team could muster a score during regulation or in the two 15-minute sudden victory overtime periods, and so the match came down to a series of penalty kicks.
Beavercreek kicked first, with Morgan Currier and co-captain Diana Benigno each tallying goals early on for the Beavers.
A shot over the cross bar and off the football goal post by a St. Ursula player gave Beavercreek all the margin it needed.
In the first-to-five penalty kick battle, ‘Creek co-captain Tiernan McKitrick and Heidi Orloff followed suit with PK scores of their own.
Greta Betz, Anna Lohrer and Tatum Scanlon each scored for the Bulldogs to pull within a 4-3 margin, but then Beavercreek’s Cassie Rodriguez launched the clinching PK goal into the upper left past St. Ursula goalkeeper Jordan Schneider for the win.
The entire Beavercreek team then buried Rodriguez in a pile of ecstatic and very relieved players.
“We knew it was going to be a very very hard game,” Beavercreek head coach Steve Popp said. “Both teams fought for 110 minutes, and when it comes down to penalties that’s a tough way to settle a game. But we work on ‘em, we practice ‘em, and we feel we’re good in that area, because that’s part of the game, too.
“All year, when we’ve had to come up with a play to win, we were able to do it,” he added. “Today, we were able to make our penalty kicks.”
Beavercreek will now take on Loveland at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29 in a regional semifinal match. The neutral location for that match had yet to be determined as of presstime.
The Beavercreek-Loveland winner will face either West Chester Lakota West or Cincinnati Seton in the regional final, which is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 2.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.