All year long the Perry girls soccer team played from ahead, outscoring opponents 121 to 12. But, with their season on the line Tuesday night at Campo Verde High School, Perry fell behind 1-0 about 14 minutes into the game.
They were up against Pinnacle, a team that had only allowed nine goals all season long, but their effort never wavered, they continued to attack, and put pressure on, the Pinnacle defense.
They created several shots, with long runs up the sidelines by Remmi Deutsch and Amanda Dahl and solid possession play by Shaylynn Uyeshiro and Joey Lujan in the middle of the field. While they created several opportunities, they couldn’t break through because of the solid defensive play of the Pinnacle defense and goal keeper Rachael Black, who made great saves all night long.
Around the 10-minute mark, the Pumas picked up the pressure even more. Jackie Gilbert ripped a shot from inside the six, only to be blocked by Black once again. Then, Perry put a barrage of shots on the net that Black was able to save, but not completely. Blacked knocked the last shot off to the side of the net, giving Perry a corner kick with just under six minutes remaining.
The ball was sent into the middle of the box and while several players, on both sides, got a piece of the ball, Perry senior Trinity Kauffman, put the ball into the back of the net, tying the game. Neither team could net the go-ahead goal in regular time and the game ended up going into overtime.
In overtime, both defenses showed the prowess that they had showed all season long as both teams went scoreless in overtime and forced the game into penalty kicks, with two of the top goalkeepers in 6A in between the pipes.
Nine players stepped to the penalty spot and only one missed their mark, but it all came down to Gilbert, as Perry’s final kicker. She put the ball right down the middle, catching Black off guard as she moved to her left. While Black was still able to get a hand on the ball it was too late, the ball rolled across the line and the Pumas captured their berth into the State Championship game Saturday.
The No. 2-seed Pumas will be matched up against No. 1-seeded Xavier Prep. The Gators have been just as good as Perry defensively this year, only allowing 12 goals. But the offensive attack of Perry has been outstanding all season long, scoring 121 goals compared to Xavier Prep’s 49.
These two teams have seen each other before, the Pumas shutout the Gators on January 18th and netted three goals in the match up.
Could we be in for a repeat of their match-up from earlier this season? Find out at 11 a.m. Saturday morning as the two teams face off at Campo Verde High School for the AIA 6A State Championship.