Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
By Gary R. Rasberry
Coldwater prevails 3-1 on penalty kicks
Division III District Girls Soccer at Elida
  ELIDA -¬†After 110 minutes of scoreless action, Coldwater's girls soccer team needed a round of penalty kicks against Allen East to determine their Division III district semifinal matchup.
Experiencing the pressure of penalty kicks for the first time in program history, Coldwater prevailed 3-1 on kicks to advance to their first district championship match.
Coldwater (9-6-2) will face the winner of tonight's Kalida-Fort Jennings matchup at Ottoville on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Bath High School for a berth to the regionals.
"It all comes down to effort," said Cavaliers' coach Scott Brinkman. "Allen East had great effort for the whole night, and I knew our girls had great effort for the whole night. When you get into penalty kicks, it's all a matter of luck."
The Cavaliers and Mustangs (8-10-1) played to a 1-1 draw during the regular season and the rematch was every bit as exciting. Coldwater was the early aggressor, outshooting the Mustangs 3-1 in the first half and holding a 3-0 advantage on corner kicks.
Things picked up for Allen East in the second half, as the Mustangs outshot Coldwater 5-1. The Mustangs had several opportunities to score inside the penalty box, but Cavaliers' goalie Krista Wellman (seven saves) was up to the task and Coldwater's defense cleared several other potential scoring chances.
"We've been stressing that so much. We have to mark up, have to clear the ball," said Brinkman. "We did that every way possible. Krista was outstanding. She has been all year, but the last 5-6 games, she's been out of this world. All the credit to the kids for their efforts. It's not an individual sport, but our goalie made a huge difference."
"It was a slow start at first. I knew we weren't playing to our potential," said Wellman, a four-year starter in goal for the Cavs. "It took a little bit for us to get there, but we were still playing good. Twenty minutes, we got it."
Allen East continued to pressure Coldwater's defense in the two 15-minute sudden victory overtimes but the game remained scoreless to force a best-of-five round of penalty kicks.
Allen East got the chance to start, but Savanah Silone stepped up and put the shot over the crossbar. Holly Rindler stepped in for Coldwater and put the ball to the lower right corner of the goal past Mustangs' keeper Kyra Plaugher to draw first blood for the Cavs.
The Mustangs second shot by Abby Joyner was just like Silone's as the ball went over the crossbar. Rachel Luthman made it 2-0 in favor of Coldwater as she hit the back of the net in the lower left corner.
Claudia Rettig finally scored for the Mustangs on a shot to the upper left side of the net, but Leslie Stelzer made the Cavs 3-for-3 for PKs, going lower left corner for the goal.
"It was so nerve-racking. I couldn't even talk to anybody," said senior Carly Hoying, who would have shot fifth in the first round of kicks. "I was so glad our first three scored. I was so relieved."
The Mustangs needed a score to keep game going, but Alexis McCluer's shot was down the middle and into the arms of Wellman to end the match.
"I was so relieved, I was trying to read her. I thought she was going to one side and I started diving," said Wellman of the match-clinching save. "I was like 'Oh, crap!', so I went down the middle. Once I knew it was in my hands, it was awesome."
Now the Cavaliers are playing for the district title in the fourth season of their program. Hoying, who has been a varsity player since her freshman season, knows the hard work is paying off.
"It's definitely taken four years for the program to get to where it is today," said Hoying. "I feel the team has worked so well this year and it shows how hard we worked."
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