St. Vincent-St. Mary sophomore Allison Coughlin did not play a single minute in the regular run of play Monday night in the Fighting Irish girls soccer match with Chagrin Falls.
Coughlin’s impact on the final outcome, though, was undeniable.
St. V-M coach Jud Hartman called upon Coughlin to take a penalty kick in a shootout knotted at 5-5 after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw in 110 minutes of action.
Coughlin, who has battled a nagging quad injury all season, stepped forward and confidently kicked in the winning shot to advance the host Irish (4-7-5) past the Tigers (4-7-4) by a 6-5 penalty kick score in a Division II sectional semifinal on John Cistone Field at Green Street Stadium.
“I was just finishing off what the girls had worked for,” Coughlin said. “I just wanted to give them what they deserved.”
“I was surprised, but I was pretty confident [when coach selected me to kick]. I knew it was sudden death after the other team missed their goal attempt. I knew with just one more goal we would win.
“I honestly didn’t even know at first [that the ball went past Chagrin Falls sophomore goalkeeper Avery Friedman]. I was just in awe.”
Freshman Kaitlyn Morse, sophomore Julia Bowen, junior Lucy Daugherty, sophomore Taylor Ceepo and sophomore Kate Friess also scored on their penalty kick attempts for St. V-M.
Chagrin Falls girls who made their penalty kicks were senior Ashlyn Flaherty, junior Rachel Zaluski, sophomore Kelsey Owen, senior Maggie Ross and senior Madison Hendricks.
“I knew we were fine with PK’s because we practice that all week,” Hartman said. “Our girls are very good passers and shooters. I knew they were smart enough to do the job.”
Coughlin’s successful attempt set off a massive celebration on the pitch with players jumping for joy with Irish students.
“Allison started for us at the beginning of the year,” Hartman said. “She pulled her quad and hasn’t been able to play. She comes to practice everyday. She is starting to come back and I know she is a great player. I know she is very mature for only being a sophomore. I knew she would be fine in that situation, and sure enough she was.”
The teams were tied 0-0 at half and 1-1 after 80 minutes. Nothing was settled after two 15-minute overtime periods.
Flaherty gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with exactly 10 minutes remaining in the match.
The Irish continued to battle and drew even at 1-1 with 1:17 to go when Ceepo scored a goal following a penalty kick. Daugherty drew the foul in the box.
Friedman and Irish sophomore Leah Rauscher both played well as the goalkeepers. Each was aggressive in preventing additional shots on goal by stopping several crossing passes near the goal.
“We came out and played pretty bad for about the first 35 minutes,” Hartman said. “Then we kicked it into gear and put some pressure on them. We were lucky to go into half 0-0. We dodged a few bullets in the first half. We came out in the second half and I thought we controlled most of the half. We had a lot of great opportunities, but their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves.”
Juniors Julia Mendiola, Katie Goedecke and Lexi Mathern also contributed in starting roles for St. V-M along with sophomore Kacey Cousineau and Alaina Misbrener. Senior Jordan Weisensell was solid as a reserve with sophomore MaryBeth Thomas and junior Kenzie Nolte.