Mystic Valley Soccer Heading to Semifinals
While the nation settled in for the night to watch the election returns the Mystic Valley girls’ soccer team and a couple hundred hardy fans braved the November cold to experience a night to remember. The girls beat a very determined Notre Dame team in a 3-2 shootout after playing to a 0-0 tie in double overtime. The win sends the Eagles to the MIAA Tournament semifinals for the first time in school history.
The Eagles started the game playing as cold as the night air. Notre Dame carried the game throughout the beginning stages of the game. The Eagles did not even have a shot on net after the first 20 minutes of play. They were kept in the game by their defense led by league MVP goalie, Jackie Lane, who kept her team under control and kept Notre Dame from getting on the board. Kathryn McPherson played a great defensive game for the Eagles as did Amanda Kerner whose hustle won her the award for the dirtiest uniform after the game and Emily Luu and Vanessa Barrientos.
Things started to get better for the Eagles near the end of the first half when their offense started to come alive led by the efforts of Samantha Rizzo (spoiler alert: remember that name). Rizzo and Meghan Foley would keep the pressure up for the rest of the game but they were never able to put the ball in the net despite several solid opportunities. They were joined in their efforts on offense by Sydney Carlino, Caroline Williams, Vanessa Kreis and Katarina Diplacido who all played solid games. The entire Mystic Valley squad put forth their best effort of the season.
The second half was an intense back and forth affair with a palpable sense that the team that scored first was going to win the game. The boisterous crowd kept getting louder and louder as the game neared the end. The Eagles had an opportunity to win at the end of regulation when Feliciana Panza had three straight corner kicks that were each superbly defended by Notre Dame. Panza had a very solid defensive game coming back to play after needing to be helped off the field with a first half injury. Despite the many scoring opportunities for each team neither could get a goal and the game went into overtime.
The teams then played through two ten minute overtime periods that seemed to fans like they lasted only 10 seconds each. Still there was no score.
The game came down to penalty kicks. Each team gets 5 kicks and the team that gets the most goals wins. Keeping with the tone of the game, Mystic Valley fell behind 1-0 but battled back. Goalkeeper Jackie Lane started it by leaving the net to take a penalty shot which found the back of the net. Alex Cimetti followed up with a shot that slammed the inside of the left goal post before ricocheting into the net for a Mystic Valley goal. Going into the final shot the score was 2-2. Notre Dame’s shot was blocked by goalie Jackie Lane setting the stage for a final shot to decide the game.
Sophomore Samantha Rizzo calmly stepped up to get ready to take the shot for the Eagles. When the referee blew his whistle to signal it was time to shoot you could have heard a pin drop in the crowd. The silence was broken when Rizzo’s shot sailed past the goalie and into the net causing the crowd to erupt and Rizzo’s teammates to jump all over her in a celebratory mob.
The Eagles’ now move on to face Weston High School on Thursday night at 7:30 at Arlington High School.