In a game that featured two teams that could not have been more evenly matched North Olmsted was able to defeat visiting Avon Lake in a shootout to claim a Sectional championship on Wednesday night by a final score of 2-1.
Both squads entered the game with nearly identical season records, nearly identical season stats, both finished tied for 4th place in the Southwestern Conference with identical records. In their first meeting during the regular season, they played to 0-0 draw. In this playoff game they played 80 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of overtime to a 1-1 tie. Through the first five rounds of shootout penalty kicks they were still tied and finally in the sixth round there was some separation as North Olmsted was able to tally the score that would give them the match.
Back in the first half of this contest, North Olmsted would strike first as senior Grace Kereky won a loose ball at the top of the 18 yd. box and fired in a shot to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead that they carried into halftime.
In the second half, Avon Lake knotted the game as junior Emily O'Connor took a pass from freshman Catie Corrigan in front of the NO net and drilled home the equalizer with 27 minutes left to play. Throughout the match there were many great opportunities to score which were not realized. O'Connor missed a wide open net early in the first half and Corrigan also had a shot go wide of a open net in the first overtime period. North Olmsted had three shots deflect off posts during the match. In goal for the Eagles was freshman Emily Patterson who made 4 saves and for Avon Lake junior Amy Crooks stopped 7 shots.
After two overtime periods still could not produce a winner, the match moved on to penalty kicks. After the first stage of five penalty kicks, the teams were tied 3-3 with Grace Kereky, Jessica Marita, and Danielle Yasenchack converting for North Olmsted. For the Shoregals, Christine Gates, Kailey McClain, and Emily O'Connor made successful PKs. Then it moved into the sudden death phase of PKs with Erin Schloss of NO netting the kick that proved to be the match winner as Avon Lake's attempt was blocked. For the penalty kicks, NO switched goalies as junior Nicole Dembie was inserted and it proved to be a great move as she achieved the difficult feat of blocking 3 shots to key the victory.
North Olmsted ups its record to 4-9-4 and won against Avon Lake for the first time since 2005. They will now move on to face the winner of Magnificat vs. Olmsted Falls on Tuesday 10/23. Avon Lake concludes its season with a 2-10-4 record.