A pair of Class 2 teams with aspirations of reaching new levels faced off at Ladue this afternoon to open their season. Played in a strong wind that offered an advantage, it wasn’t until the 72nd minute that the Longhorns were able to take advantage, scoring on a set piece. Sophomore Lindsey Anstine sent a ball from 30 yards out, along the far touchline, that sophomore Ally Guccione ran onto perfectly, sending a volley that she took out of the air just before it struck the ground to the near post from 12 yards out. Bang bang and it seemed Parkway West had earned the points in a game that seemed to have gotten beyond the Ram’s reach as the Longhorns took advantage of a bench 10 deep throughout the game.
Ladue was not to be denied however, as they attacked into the wind and kept Parkway West under pressure. When a foul on near the endline just outside the box offered a set piece, the Ram’s finally connected. The ball was sent beyond the six yard box where sophomore Charlotte Mabbs ran onto it and sent her volley into the roof of the net. The goal came with 55 seconds remaining on the clock and it led to overtime. The Longhorns had the best opportunity when a pair of misplays by the defense, which had been rock solid up to that point, allowed Sarah Kessell in alone on the goalkeeper midway through the first overtime period. Her shot was rejected by GK Claire Petersen but the rebound fell to Kessell but her second opportunity went over the crossbar.
The game went to penalty kicks and Petersen (pictured left below) once again came up strong for the Rams, stopping a pair of shots as well as seeing one go off the upright. GK Jordan Beveridge for Parkway West also stopped a pair and saw another go off the crossbar for the Rams. It fell to Mabbs, who tied the game, to once again play hero when she stepped up for the fifth and potentially final PK opportunity for Ladue. She nailed it sending the teams to sudden death PKs. When Petersen got her second save on Parkways sixth shot, transfer student Paulina Mangell stepped up and buried her shot. Celebration ensued.
You can hear my conversation with Claire (GK) and Paulina (defender and PK taker extraordinaire) below. I’ll have photos to add to the story tomorrow. There was plenty of quality play on display this afternoon and this story only covers a small part. I’ll see both teams a couple of times this season so look for more as they progress.