It took 90 minutes and a rash of penalty kicks to decide the winner here on Wednesday at Tiger Stadium but Toledo was ultimately able to avenge a pair of losses to Kalama with aplomb. A tooth-and-nail 2-1 victory over the Chinooks served to clinch a spot in the 2B District IV girls soccer tournament title game for Toledo while simultaneously guaranteeing them a berth in the state tournament.
“It feels pretty darn good. Kalama had gotten the best of us twice in the regular season,” Toledo coach Noel Vasquez said. “We knew that we had nothing to lose and everything to gain so when it came to that point the girls knew how to overcome adversity.”
The match was a scoreless stalemate for the first 40 minutes of play and sent the teams into the intermission wondering who would be able to break the deadlock. Fifteen seconds into the second half, Toledo got their answer when Marina Smith lofted a looping shot that narrowly evaded the outstretched fingertips of the Kalama goalkeeper. Rose Dillon earned the assist on the quick-hitter score.
“That got the girls excited because we never score first on this team. They are ranked second in the state for a reason. We are ranked like eighth but today we showed that we have a lot of heart,” added Vasquez.
Toledo’s resolve would be put to the test just five minutes later, though, when Kailey Shipley juked a pair of defenders and then doinked a shot off the leg of another defender and into the bottom corner of an open net. That score tied the game up at 1-1 and ultimately wound up sending the contest into overtime.
After a twin set of five minute overtime periods did nothing to settle the outcome the teams lined up for ceremonial penalty kicks in order to determine the winner. It was with those extra kicks that Toledo was able to claim victory as they knocked home all five of their attempts.
“When we made that mistake and they tied us we just kind of went into the second half of overtime and said, ‘Hey, we just went through this in our heads yesterday at practice, lets just follow through. It’s just practice!’ And all the girls came through with their PKs,” said Vasquez.
Rose Dillon scored the first penalty kick for Toledo as was summarily followed up scores from Vanessa Rodriguez, Marina Smith, Haley Anderson, and Maryssa Peters in order to seal the win. Toledo goalie Kaylee Viegle stopped 12 of 13 shots on goal on the night while also fending off a pair of shots in the decisive penalty kick portion of the contest.
After finishing third in the Central 2B League with a pair of losses to Kalama on their record already, Vasquez was well aware that his team was considered the underdog coming into the semifinal match. That’s why he spent so much effort before the game getting his players to believe they could topple anyone standing in their path, even if their foe did happen to be one of the titans of the 2B.
“It’s been a lot of me hyping them up to get them over that mental block,” explained Vasquez. “I just told them don’t be nervous. I know you guys are anxious. You guys are scared. We’ve never been in this playoff position before but the only way we can get experience is by us playing this game.”
Coming up next, Toledo will employ that hard earned experience in the district title game against Onalaska at noon on Saturday in Kalama.