Abby Schneider found the zone.
It was overtime. Penalty kicks. So, she breathed in. She breathed out. She pseud-meditated. In the goalie box, she was alone with the shooter.
For the ninth time that night, she faced an opponent in that fashion. This time Martin Nunez-Rosen blasted a shot down the center, and Schneider juked right, stopped and steadied herself, and caught the ball.
With that save, Arcadia was in the driver’s seat to for the win, and the Titans’ Kate Staudenmaier did just that, calmly walking up and lacing the winning kick as the Titans earned the Silver championship with a 2-1 victory against Horizon in the Horizon Tournament of Champions on Saturday.
“I really can’t describe it, it’s just the best feeling ever knowing that I helped my team win," she said. "It’s just the best."
For Schneider, the win was especially sweet, especially after Horizon had beaten the Titans, 1-0, earlier in the week thanks to Sydnee Weber’s header.
Weber struck first again, this time in the 18th minute, lobbing a shot over Schneider’s head.
“We knew we were going to face pressure, so we tried to hold the middle here, but then they got that goal from the right side, which was a beautiful shot in the upper left hand corner,” said Huskies coach Chris Diana. “So then we just had to regroup, but we felt like we were under pressure most of the second half. We were pretty relieved when it went to PKs.”
Arcadia dictated possession throughout the game, but couldn’t get the ball in the net until the 54th minute, when Megan Hawkins powered a shot to the back of the net and over the head of keeper Delaney Strizich from 15 yards out.
“Today we just believed; you have to believe in yourself that eventually you will score that goal,” said Arcadia coach Adam Zweiback. “Megan Hawkins is a super sophomore — she has 11 goals in six games — sometimes you need a great player to do something spectacular, and that goal she hit was just unbelievable.”
Even during the penalty kicks, the Titans kept the pressure on, with Arcadia’s first four players hitting the back of the net. And then it had Schneider as its defense.
“It’s so nerve-racking. Extremely nerve-racking," Schneider said. "During those PKs you just have to be focused through the entire thing."