HINSDALE – Penalty kick shootouts are certainly good at one thing: stirring up emotions.
Lyons Township and Wheaton Warrenville South resumed a sectional semifinal on Wednesday already in overtime from a lightning delay on Tuesday and needed penalty kicks to determine the winner.
The Lions went from down, panicked and desperate to relieved, jubilant and victorious while the Tigers endured the agony of ending a season on penalties.
The teams were tied at 1-1 at the end of play on Tuesday and that score remained through the 10:27 of overtime on Wednesday.
In the shootout, LT missed its first two penalties wide and the Tigers scored the first two to take a commanding lead. Then things turned.
Grace Nasenbenny, C.C. Holbert and Emily Lange converted for LT while the Tigers failed to convert on their final three attempts. One shot missed wide, LT goalkeeper Lidia Breen saved one down the middle and the final attempt from Tiger forward Dana Miller required a dive high at full stretch to Breen’s left. It was the type of save that goalkeeper statues are modeled after.
“It’s hard to fathom that swung so fast,” said Tigers’ coach Guy Callipari. “All you needed was one to really put the pressure and we missed the next two. That’s the beauty of this game and the ugliness of this game at the same time.”
Miller scored South’s goal in regulation on a penalty kick in the first half less than a minute after Erin Fitzgerald scored for the Lions. Breen remembered that attempt in the shootout.
“She went left,” Breen said. “Before I went out they told me to remember that she went left. She was staring at the right side so I was like she’s going left. I just decided to go for it.”
The way the match went Breen would have seemed an unlikely hero. The Tigers couldn’t muster a shot on goal other than Miller’s penalty kick. Breen finished with no saves in regulation, but from the time action ended on Tuesday she knew penalties were likely.
“I was so nervous today,” Breen said. “I couldn’t do anything in any of my classes. I would just stare at the wall thinking ‘What if we get into a PK shootout and I don’t save any of them?’”
Breen already went through that scenario when LT lost to its next opponent, host Hinsdale Central, in penalty kicks on April 30. The Red Devils won the West Suburban Silver in that shootout and the Lions have been itching for redemption since.
“That’s the hard part now,” said LT coach Bill Lanspeary. “You’re so up with this one and now you gotta give the kids some time to enjoy it, but then we had to remind them right after that, alright, we gotta get ready for Friday.”