DES MOINES — When 100 minutes of play and 11 rounds of a shootout could not decide the issue, it was a pair of freshmen who combined to give the Perry girls an emotional 2-1 win over Des Moines Lincoln at Dewey Field.
Perry freshman goalie Carly Anderson had made an unofficial 10 saves in regulation, but it was her diving denial of Jocelynn Luangdetmalay’s shootout kick in the 12th round that set the stage for the final heroics.
As fate would have it, freshman scoring phenom Natalie Martinez was up next for the Jayettes, and she calmly beat Railpslitter keeper Allison Lane with a blast into the left side panel to give the hosts a 2-1 (5-4) win.
Anderson admitted she was unfamiliar with how the shootout round is played.
“They just told me to go get in goal, so I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it,” she said. “I was nervous, but my teammates kept encouraging me and that helped.”
Lincoln (6-7) scored only nine minutes into the game when Maite Montalvo broke loose on a counter-attack, made a move on Anderson 20 yards out and slipped the ball between the pipes.
Perry (8-6) had numerous chances throughout the half and after the intermission, but failed to convert until Martinez scored for the 26th time this season midway through the second half to tie the contest.
Anderson made a series of four saves over a 10-minute stretch late in the half to help keep Perry alive, and while the Jayette offense continued to create chances, missed passes or one-pass-too-many kept the hosts from scoring a second time.
Neither team mounted a sustained charge in either of the two 10-minute overtime periods, setting the stage for a shootout.
Rules mandate five kickers from each team alternate penalty shots, with the visitor shooting first.
Laura Harper shot first for the Rails, but Anderson made a spectacular diving save to her right to give the hosts a huge advantage. Perry scored consecutive goals, as did Lincoln, with Perry missing wide left on their fourth attempt. Lincoln then scored to make it 4-3, with Claire Arganbright keeping Perry alive by beating Lane to her right.
That brought five new players out for a second series, but this time sudden death applied, meaning any team leading after each had shot in a round would win.
Nerves were clearly effecting the shooters, as Lincoln shot high three times, with Anderson making two more saves, including another fine denial off a shot that hit the post to her left and could easily have ricocheted into the goal.
However, Perry kept missing after each Lincoln miss, with the hosts hitting the crossbar once and shooting high twice, with Lane deflecting one ball off the bar and making a save on another.
The third set of five — with repeat appearances by shooters allowed — stepped onto the pitch as the tension mounted. Jasmine Luangdetmalay fired her shot off the post to Anderson’s left, but Perry missed high to ratchet the drama up another notch.
Jocelynn Luangdetmalay’s low burner was smothered by Anderson, setting up Martinez for the game-winner, which resulted in wild celebration and pig-pile of Jayettes between the east goal and the home bench.
Anderson said the first shootout save was the most important.
“It boosted my confidence a lot to make that first one,” she smiled. “I was still real nervous as it went on because you never know if you are going to make another one (save) and I knew the team was depending on me. This is a great feeling.”
The junior varsity game had its own share of dramatics despite being settled in regulation as Perry escaped with a 3-2 win. Kennedy Kuta scored twice for the Jayettes, with Jessica Ortiz also finding the nylon.
Perry will conclude their regular season Tuesday with a trip to Atlantic.