COLUMBIA — It’s almost become a tradition.
For the third consecutive year the Rock Bridge and Helias Catholic girls soccer teams have taken their game into overtime. In 2009, Rock Bridge lost 1-0 when Helias scored early in the first overtime. Last year, they went into penalty kicks tied 0-0, and the Bruins claimed a 4-3 shootout victory.
After 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtimes Thursday at Rock Bridge, this season's scoreless game went into penalty kicks.
“You can't hesitate,” coach Marc VanDover said about shooting penalty kicks. “You have to know where you're going with the ball before you get to the line.”
Without delay, Rock Bridge junior Brett Fuller drove the first of the penalty kicks to the back of the net.
Helias’ Sydney Ringdahl turned around and did the same thing, but it was the Crusaders' only goal of the night. Their next shot sailed over the net, and the final one went straight to the Bruins' goalkeeper, senior Carrie Levy.
"It's hard, but there's just as much pressure on the shooters as there is on me,” Levy said.
Levy tried reading the shooters as best she could, reading body language and using her instincts to predict which way the ball would go.
“It's a 50-50, there's no yes or no on it,” Levy said. “I get the best stance on the ball I can, read which way their hips turn and just watch where the ball goes.”
Rock Bridge senior Mary Bowman had been practicing for her moment on the line. She missed her penalty kick last year and did not want it to happen again.
“Last year, I went before the whistle and made it but shanked the second one,” Bowman said. “Having practiced so much, I was a lot more confident this year. It's a mindset thing, and I was ready to take it.”
Bowman and freshman Laurie Frew both shot and scored for the Bruins.
“Laurie is a freshman, and that’s a lot of pressure,” VanDover said. "Tonight she stepped up in a big way."
For the second year in a row, Anna Alioto scored the winning goal. The junior shot straight to the upper-right corner of the goal, securing the Bruins' 4-1 penalty kick triumph and a 1-0 win over Helias.