Penalty Kicks Propel Women to a Conference Title
As a proud alumni we kept the receipts. Predicted to finish the season eighth in the conference, the women’s soccer team persevered all the way to the NCAA tournament. It was not an easy path they chose there but they did it.
Going into their last three games it wasn’t looking good for these women. Sitting at 5-4-4 and were on the outside looking in. However, they had the two teams in front of them lined up in Monmouth and Lawrence. They had not won a road game all year and the game in Lawrence was in Appleton.
All looked lost as even some of our editors had given up on the season after a tie versus Monmouth. The women defied the odds and beat Lawrence on their field to clinch a spot. And like Chris Garnder all they needed was a shot in the tournament winning both games in glorious fashion.
The game you want to hear about was the championship. After knocking off Lake Forest in the first game, they faced #1 seeded Knox. The first 90 minutes of action was about as scarce as the action in the Adam Sandler movie. The same carried over into three overtimes. People were on the edge of their seats, as one of the most nerve wracking experiences was going to happen in sports: penalty kicks.
We sent out Gracie Gassman’25, Aspen Valentine’24, and Lorraine Pedroza’24 for the first three pk’s. The Prairie Fire was put out. No more knoxing at our door. As each player made their PK. The Round Table asked Pedroza how it felt to win this game and make that shot. Her answer was amazing. She said “I felt Invincible, scoring that goal with a broken elbow. Knowing that we lost to them 1-0 made us more hungry for the win.”
She spoke to their leaders saying “ When we went to overtime we knew that we were more experienced.”
The Table asked lastly if they were nervous or scared going into OT and she quipped “we practiced for this in our sleep, so you can say we were pretty confident.”
To add the icing to the cake Maya Betzler’24 shut the door on the fire. She didn’t have to be superstitious from stopping those balls. She picked up the phone and called Beloit. She called just to say I love you.
The Bucs are in the big dance.