This time it came all the way to a shootout, but the result was the same. The Beckman girls saw their hopes of a state soccer tournament appearance disappear at the hands of Center Point-Urbana (16-2) June 3 at Center Point in a Class 1A regional final.
And what a battle it was. The teams traded shots and stops for the entire 80 minutes of regulation, then battled through two overtimes before the dreaded shootout determined the outcome.
“We hate shootouts,” said a disappointed coach Greg Keegan. “I’d almost rather flip a coin. It puts so much pressure on the shooter and definitely on the keeper. Haley (LeGrand) is taking is pretty hard.”
LeGrand was stellar at making stops (eight) on the shots CPU sent her way through the rest of the game. Both teams were in strong defensive mode with very few balls actually making it as far as the goal area. The Blazers did get one in the net, with about two minutes left in the first half. Ashley Engelken saw her tight shot from the left side slither past CPU keeper Carlie Foltz, but it was called back due to offsides.
“We didn’t see it as offsides, but the refs are the ones who make the calls,” said Keegan.
Foltz made six saves on the night, even though the Pointers had a tiny advantage (8-7) in shots on goal and a 15-10 lead in shots.
When it came to the shootout, the Blazers went first, with Tara Hansel burying hers. CPU knotted it and Paige McDermott sent hers past Foltz. Again, the Pointers matched. Kennedy Arens saw her shot knocked down by Foltz and the Pointers took a 3-2 lead. When Ashley Engelken’s grounder was stopped, the game was done, with a 4-2 lead for the Pointers and a 1-0 PK decision.
“The girls played so hard, they really wanted to break that glass ceiling and get to state. I am feeling for my seniors, they’ve given so much to this program. Both of these teams certainly deserved to reach the state tournament. We had our chances but it wasn’t to be again this year,” Keegan concluded.