For the second consecutive playoff game, the Carroll College women’s soccer team advanced via shootout at the Cascade Conference Tournament in Springfield, Oregon.
The Saints went scoreless against Rocky Mountain College on Saturday and then won in penalty kicks after a scoreless overtime. The Saints won by a score of 3-1.
“We know we have qualified for the tournament, so it is a different mindset,” coach Dave Thorvilson said over the phone. “That’s kind of hard to interpret. We’re the only team on the women’s side that has not as much pressure. We’ve gotten two great games against two teams that we had winning results against in the regular season.”
The Saints defeated College of Idaho 1-0 in the regular season, and scored a 4-0 win over Rocky Mountain. The playoffs, however, create a dramatically different atmosphere, and with the Saints having already qualified for the national tournament by winning the regular-season title, other teams are desperate to find their own way to advance.
“I think any time you go into tournament play, everything is in desperation mode because they know it can be the last game of the season,” Thorvilson said.
Thorvilson said the weather for each game was drastically different. Friday when the Saints took down College of Idaho in penalty kicks, the weather was in the 70s. On Saturday, the weather dropped down to the 50s and it rained all day.
The Saints had penalty kicks from Natalie Johnston, Ylena Gazdik, Christina Plank and Talya Vaira, the same shooters who took kicks the previous match.
The Saints have a knack for overtime games. It was the eighth time this season the Saints have gone into extra time.
Thorvilson said the dimensions of the field in Springfield are narrow, creating a more defensive game. It’s part of the reason the Saints haven’t been able to find the back of the net in regulation.
The Saints have an off day on Sunday while they assist with the Champions of Character program and work with the Oregon Special Olympics soccer team.
Carroll will then face Northwest of Kirkland, Washington, on Monday at noon in the championship match.