ORANGE BEACH, Ala. - The Marian women's soccer team came back twice and forced a penalty kick shootout against No. 1 Martin Methodist, but ultimately fell, 4-2, in the shootout after a 2-2 tie through 110 minutes at the NAIA National Championship. Marian's season ends with a 16-3-4 record.
Marian found themselves down 1-0 just after the opening whistle as Martin Methodist controlled possession early and worked their way down field to score with a low shot that snuck past Catherine Schmidt.
The Knights settled in after the goal and found an offensive rhythm. Marian's first quality chance came 12 minutes in on a Courtney Denney shot from the right side of the box that went wide. On the other end, Amanda Annee cleaned up a few threats from the Redhawks to keep Martin Methodist from extending the lead.
After Kellie Cavanaugh came on with 29 to play in the half, she was able to find a window for a shot from 25 yards out with 26 to play. Her shot forced Martin Methodist's keeper to dive right and make the save, keeping Marian off the board. Late in the half, Cavanaugh sent a searching ball on the ground to the box and Mackenzie Hall was just beaten to it by the MMC keeper. One minute later, Hall received a pass off a free kick and rifled a shot high and wide.
In the second half, things looked bleak as time wore on. Marian had a few opportunities in the first 20 minutes, but they were shut down each time. However, the Knights continued to control possession and in the final 10 minutes fireworks went off. With 9:54 to play in regulation, Cavanaugh fired a shot into the upper right corner of the net to tie the match at one apiece. The tie lasted all of 42 seconds though as Martin Methodist found a quick response and took a 2-1 lead with 9:12 left to play.
With time ticking away, Marian struggled to find another scoring opportunity, but with 10 seconds left in regulation, the Knights were granted a free kick from 30 yards out in the center of the field. 10 players made their way into the box, while goalkeeper Catherine Schmidt came up to take the kick. She rifled a shot into the back of the net with six seconds remaining and sent the match into overtime.
Nothing was decided in the 20 minutes of overtime and a penalty kick shootout was needed to settle the score. Marian missed its first penalty, while Martin Methodist made theirs to take a 1-0 lead. Brittney Zendejas stepped up and made the second PK, but MMC answered once more. After Marian missed its third penalty and Martin Methodist made theirs, Amanda Annee had to make the fourth penalty shot for Marian to stay alive. She found the back of the net, but a score by the Redhawks ended the match as they clinched a 4-2 advantage in the shootout.
Martin Methodist outshot Marian 23-18, but the Knights had 11 shots on goal compared to MMC's 10. There were only three corner kicks taken in the match and Marian took two of them. Schimdt made eight saves in the net, while Martin Methodist's Caitlin Dumond made nine. Five yellow cards were handed out amongst the two teams in the match.
Marian ends it's season 16-3-4 with runner-up finishes in the regular season and Crossroads League Tournament, along with the team's first trip to the NAIA National Championship.
MUKnights.com: Your online source for Marian Athletics, tickets, multimedia, Knight merchandise, photos and more.