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Lincoln-Way Central falls to Moline in PKs

05/27/2014, 9:30pm CDT
By Randy Whalen

Lincoln-Way Central couldn't hold a pair of leads and fell to Moline 3-2 in a game that was decided in nine rounds of penalty kicks Tuesday in a Class 3A Normal Sectional semifinal.

NORMAL, Ill.— Brooke Bingham summed up the disappointment of the Lincoln-Way Central girls soccer team.

"We should have finished it in regulation," she said. "We shouldn't have even went to overtime."

But instead the Knights couldn't hold a pair of leads and fell to Moline 3-2 in a game that was decided in nine rounds of penalty kicks Tuesday in a Class 3A Normal Sectional semifinal.

With its second shootout victory in a row, Moline (17-3) advanced to its first sectional final and will face either Collinsville or Edwardsville for the title at 5 p.m. on Friday.

The Knights (13-9-3) were making their third sectional appearance in four years and seventh in 10 years.

"The game seemed just like our season," Central coach Dan Radz said. "Up and down, back and forth."

Central couldn't clear a ball and that led to the Maroons tying the game at 2-2 with 23:56 left in regulation on the 23rd goal of the season by Jamie Althiser.

Neither team could find the back of the net for the rest of regulation and the two 10 minute overtimes. In the penalty kick session, Moline shot first and each team converted on the first three rounds.

Both teams missed in the fourth round, but converted in the fifth — with Brooke Mejdrich sending the shootout to sudden death for the Knights when she scored in the lower left corner to tie it at 4-4.

Central keeper Erin Doody turned back a shot to open the sixth round, but Rachel Holt did the same for the Maroons to save their season. Both teams converted in the seventh round to knot it at 5-5.

Doody came up with another big stop on a dive to her left in the eighth round, but Central clanged a shot off the cross bar. Sarah Hillbloom hammered home her PK for a 6-5 lead and the game ended when the Knights knocked the final PK off the left post.

The Knights had taken a 1-0 lead with 8:47 left in the first half. A Moline clearing attempt got caught in the wind and Aliva Crowhurst was there to catch up to it near the left post and knock the shot in the upper-right corner.

"I thought we got a lucky goal to start," Radz said. "We had the lead, but we had very little midfield play. We couldn't find that connection."

Moline tied the game on a goal by Hillbloom with 36:17 to play in regulation. The Knights answered less than two minutes later when Kayla Grundhofer converted in front off a perfect left side corner kick from Sarah Ortman.

Bingham and Paige Proctor, both defenders, were the only two senior starters for Central.

"Both teams had pretty good chances to score," Proctor said. "I'll just remember the way we all came together. We all motivated each other a lot."

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