(Cover photo credit: Conor Revell)
Assumption junior Kennedy Cline said “just breathe” moments before she took her penalty kick in their shootout against Male.
Cline booted her penalty kick to the right of goalkeeper Molly Nunn giving her team a 3-1 win in the shootout that resulted in a 1-0 victory over host Male in a 26th District game Thursday night.
“I felt like the world was on my shoulders,” Cline said. “I was shaking but I took a deep breath and told myself that I could do it. And I did it.”
The two squads couldn’t score against Nunn or Assumption goalkeeper Alyssa Campisano during the 80 minutes of regulation and the two five minute overtimes.
“Molly was unbelievable tonight,” Male head coach Christina Lauria said. “I’ll take her anytime. I have full confidence in her. She made a couple of saves in Pks. She made a couple of breakaway saves that kept us in it. She made a world class save at the beginning of the match. She did her part.”
But Campisano ousted her counterpart in PKs.
Assumption head coach Andrew Quinn wasn’t there for most of the game leaving assistant coach Tom Gaus in charge.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” Gaus said of Campisano. “She came up huge for us. You could just tell before PKs that she was extremely confident. Everyone on the sideline said that ‘Alyssa is great at penalty kicks’ so she obviously had a lot of confidence going in and it showed.”
Assumption (2-0-2) appeared to have taken a 1-0 lead with 30 minutes left when Olivia Marino scored on a breakaway but an official ruled her offsides.
“We were trying to split the defense,” Marino said. “We were trying to get the forwards as open as we could get them and get the cross and then shoot it.”
Male (3-2) nearly took a 1-0 lead with 3:20 to play when Abby Cason’s shot hit the top post of the goal and went out of play on a free kick.
Both teams took seven shots in regulation and one shot in the two overtimes.
Nunn made three saves while Campisano stopped two shots.
The Bulldogs won the toss forcing the Rockets to shoot first.
“I told them that we got it this far and that we just have to finish it off,” Lauria said. “I told them to walk up to the ball confidently, know where you’re going to go, and place it in the corner. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way tonight. It happens. It’s an unjustification of this game but we will see them again in the district tournament.”
Abbey Glover made the first shot while Campisano stopped Male’s Jenna Ray’s shot.
“It was a little bit of both,” Gaus said of who chose the PK lineup. “Being a first year coach and never being in a penalty kick game before, I wasn’t 100 percent familiar with our penalty kick lineup. I did have an idea of who I wanted to take it but luckily we had some senior leadership who gave us some ideas as well.”
The Rockets Katelyn Farmer and Male’s Malika Johnson both missed their shots keeping the score at 1-0 after two shots.
Morgan Fowler made her PK for the Rockets while Campisano stopped Katie Erwin’s shot putting the Bulldogs in a 2-0 hole.
“I just stayed focused and I watched their eyes and their positioning towards the goal before they shot,” Campisano said.
But Nunn stopped Grace Moore’s shot while Taylor Brown netted her goal keeping Male alive.
Cline ended it with her goal.
“I looked one way and then I looked the other way,” Cline said. “I noticed the goalie was looking to move the way I wanted to go. But, I decided I was going to go that way anyway and shot the ball even further to the right. It worked out.”
Quinn watched from the stands during PKs and was very complimentary of his staff.
“That’s why I have great assistant coaches,” Quinn said. “Tom is great and an important part of the program. We talked before the game and to be honest as a coach; if you prepare your team to play, your role should be diminished and credit to our girls for finding a way to win. We have a great staff, our assistant coach Stephanie (Gildehaus) came up from the JV to help us out. I trust our staff to do the job and they did.”
Despite not scoring a goal for a third straight game after playing to scoreless draws with Lexington Catholic and Simon Kenton, Gaus isn’t concerned.
“I’m just excited we are putting ourselves in great position,” Gaus said. “I thought we did a great job of getting behind their backline. We had players come off the bench and players in the starting lineup who used forward movement. It was really great and the goals will come. Everybody concerned that’s our weak point but today I think it was a strength of ours. The more we put ourselves in good position, the better chances the goals will start coming.”
With the win, the Rockets have wrapped up the No. 1 seed in October’s 26th District Tournament. However, they’ll likely see the Bulldogs again in the district final.