ELIDA — It may not have been the ending many expected. But it certainly was an ending the two teams competing won’t soon forget.
Coldwater and Allen East played through two scoreless halves. Then they played through two scoreless overtime periods.
Then, it was Coldwater that broke through when it came time for a penalty kick shootout, outscoring the Mustangs 3-1 and advancing to the district finals for the first time in school history.
“Last night I told our girls it’s a privilege to keep practicing,” Coldwater coach Scott Brinkman said. “And I just told them the same thing. It’s a privilege to keep practicing. It’s a privilege to keep playing. And we’re going to continue to do our best to represent our school the best way possible.”
It certainly didn’t come easy for the Cavaliers. Allen East, a second year program coming off its first sectional title, seemed to control the game not just during regulation, but during the two overtimes as well. It was because of Coldwater’s ability to play with their backs against the net that made the difference.
For 110 minutes, Allen East was able to keep the ball almost completely on Coldwater’s half of the field. Coldwater goalie Krista Wellman didn’t budge.
“I always kind of feel like the pressure is on me,” Wellman said. “But that’s O.K. because I think I do better under pressure. It was kind of stressful because we couldn’t seem to get anything together and I knew our girls were working so hard to get an opportunity to score.”
Allen East’s Savannah Silone began the shootout with a ball that sailed just over the crossbar. Coldwater’s Holly Rindler took advantage of the opening miss by rolling the ball into the far left side of the goal just out of reach of Allen East goalie Kyra Plaugher.
The next pair mimicked their teammates: Claudia Rettig sent a ball over the net, Rachel Luthman scored to the far right of Plaugher.
Rettig came back out for Allen East and, this time, got a shot just past Wellman. Leslie Stelzer answered quickly for Coldwater with yet another perfectly placed kick. A shot from Allen East’s Alexis McCluer that was fired directly into Wellman’s hands was the miss that clinched the victory for Coldwater.
“It was a great season,” Allen East head coach Lamar Houston said. “To come out and do what we did this year, we’re really happy with everything. We got our opportunities to put a ball in the net tonight. We just didn’t finish. I think that nerves got the best of them tonight. And I was nervous for them, so I can understand it.”
Coldwater will take on the Kalida/Fort Jennings winner for the district title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bath. Allen East finishes the season with an 8-10-1 record.