That was McSwords’ situation Thursday evening after two full halves and a pair of overtime sessions left the Lady Monarchs and Thomas Worthington stalemated at 0-0 in a Division I sectional final game. While McSwords and his captains were meeting with the officials at center field in Worthington, assistant coaches Neal Shaffer, Allen Hinderer and Katie Tracey were writing down some names.
“Those were the ones I thought,” said McSwords after seeing Taylor Spears, Sam Fisher, Casidy Jaggers, Ashley Wilson and KyLee Tuchfarber on a list of shooters.
That quintet came through in big fashion, as the Lady Monarchs outscored the Cardinals, 4-3, in the shootout to advance to Tuesday’s district semifinal game at Upper Arlington. After regulation play and overtime sessions that featured both teams missing on scoring opportunities, the season basically came down to which shooting lineup and which keeper would persevere. Somebody was going to win and somebody was going to end the campaign empty-handed. Soccer games can finish in ties during the regular season but not so during tournament competition. If two, 15-minute OTs are exhausted and the deadlock still stands, teams go to a shoot-out format. Both teams name five shooters who line up against the opposing keeper. Teams alternate shots. The Cardinals took the first opportunity and Hailey Reeb gave her team a 1-0 lead against MHS keeper Hannah Zacharias.
“It’s definitely a pressure situation,” said Zacharias. “It’s tough when you have to face so many kicking styles.”
Spears lined up her shot against TW keeper Rachel Chizever and tied the game at 1-1.
Rebecca Sheldon ripped the ball in for a 2-1 Cardinal lead and Fisher followed suit to make it a 2-all battle. With tension mounting, Zacharias came up with perhaps one of the biggest plays of the season. Meagan Endsley rifled the ball toward the upper part of the goal but Zacharias swiftly got an arm up to block the offering.
“I felt on top of the world after that,” Zacharias said.
Jaggers’ shot failed to hit the mark, leaving the game tied. Nikki Appel put the Cards ahead 3-2 but Wilson scored for yet another tie. Kristen Taylor was the final Worthington shooter and her effort failed to hit the mark. It appeared as though a second set of shooters would be needed when Tuchfarber’s shot went wide to the left. A whistle blew, though, and an official signaled that Chizever crossed the white line before Tuchfarber took the shot. That’s a no-no in soccer and it gave Tuchfarber another opportunity.
“On my second chance, I felt I had to get the ball to the back of the net,” she said. “I wanted to work it to the back corner on the ground.”
Tuchfarber’s mowing job was better than a Lawnboy and when the ball skipped past Chizever, the Lady Monarchs (9-5-4) had claimed an emotional sectional title.
“This was a huge win,” said McSwords as his eyes watered and his voice cracked. “For the past four years, we’ve been working to put this program on the map and I think this win may do that. The girls worked very hard to win this game.”