When Chapelgate Christian and Park School finished in a 2-2 tie back in late September, neither team got a chance to settle the score with penalty kicks. Not till a chilly early November afternoon at Anne Arundel Community College.
That unsettled score was finally concluded, Saturday, when the Yellow Jackets again endured the Bruins in double overtime, but this time out-shooting their foes in penalty kicks to claim a 2010 IAAM C Conference Championship.
“When it came down to penalty kicks I said, ‘Just like practice,’ Chapelgate Head Coach Christen Gjeldum told her team. “We have been practicing penalty kicks just in case it went there. It did, and they capitalized.
“They played the way I knew they could play. I was a little nervous in the beginning, but we kept pressuring hard and attacking.
The practice showed on the Yellow Jacket side, going a perfect three-for-three on kicks to the Bruins’ two-for-four, brining Chapelgate’s senior captain Laura Lovass to the line.
With the chance to score the winning goal and put the conference title away, Lovass lifted the ball into the defenseless upper-left corner of the goal, sweeping the nylon net and sending her teammates into a full-on sprint to mob the game-winner with congratulations.
“I was a lot less nervous than I actually though I would be,” Lovass said. “ I think it was because coach had told us it was just like in practice. We had been practicing penalty kicks, practicing them yesterday just in case, and I am really glad coach had us do that.”
Giving Lovass the opportunity with made penalty kicks of their own was sophomore Jennifer Yahiro, freshman Lydia Frierson and junior Kristen Thomas.
There was plenty of action in the first 80 minutes of play, starting early with Chapelgate’s Thomas punching a goal in the third minute, taking a cross from Frierson and chipping it over the Bruin keeper for a 1-0 lead extremely early in the game.
“Coach always tells me to push up for the cross,” Thomas said. “And Lydia Frierson, here, did a nice left cross and I just put it in.”
It would take nearly an hour before the scoreboard would change again, this time in Park School’s favor with freshman Sara Lessans’ shot passing through the hands of the waiting keeper and ensuring the Bruins another overtime battle with the Yellow Jackets.
“I was very proud of how the girls played today,” Bruins’ Head Coach Robert Piper said. “Chapelgate is a very good team. They put us behind really early on, which is not something we usually have to deal with, and I am proud that they were able to comeback and really turn the game around in the second half.”
Park’s scoring efforts were well contained by the Yellow Jacket defense, holding the Bruins to just six shots throughout regulation, while Chapelgate sent 17 shots at its foe’s goal.
“The ball was in our end most of the half,” said Frierson, whose passing and ball skills helped set the pace for the offense. “I personally should have shot it some, but I think we did a good job. Their goalie is really good. She is everywhere and did a great job.”
With all the Yellow Jacket shots raining on the Bruin goal, it was the job of junior Arianna Strome to keep everything she could out of it… which was quite a lot.
“When you look at our stats, we have a very strong defense, and what you don’t see is the incredible amount of work she does,” Piper said of Strome. “The three or four stunning saves she had today, that’s not exceptional. She does that almost every game for us. We are very lucky to have her as a goalie.”
Strome may have had “three of four” stunning saves, Saturday, but the wall of a goalie racked-up12 saves in regulation and added another three in the second overtime to push the game into penalty kicks.
“As a junior, she has really learned how to steer a defense,” Piper again complimented Strome. “She is there talking, helping the fullbacks out, watching the players. This team does not get to this championship game without her.”
The Bruins ended the season 12-3-1, not losing in conference play until Saturday’s championship, and Coach Piper is one person who is beyond happy with the girls’ success.
“You always want to win when you get to a championship,” Piper said, “but I think we have had an incredibly successful season, and I am proud of the girls for their effort.
For Chapelgate, this is the first IAAM Championship since they repeated in 2005, and it has been a long and transforming road for the Yellow Jackets.
“When I first saw them, they were these sweet, nice, little Christian girls,” Gjeldum said, “and they remained that way, but I had to toughen then up on the field. They play with heart now. They have a purpose, and have really earned this.”
|Chapelgate Chrstian 2, Park School 1|
CCA-Smith 5; PS-Strome 15.