Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Cougars Win Shootout

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Cougars Win Shootout

Article excerpt

FORT MYERS

2A-11: Late Cardinal Mooney goal forces overtime; Cougars win it on penalty kicks

Kelly Nicholson has a secret.

And she is not sharing.

The Cardinal Mooney goaltender and goalie coach Graham Warne came up with a plan in case a match comes down to penalty kicks in a shootout.

"We worked out a strategy," Nicholson said. "I don't want to tell. It's a secret. I followed our strategy and it worked."

The shortest player on the field came up with the largest play of the match.

The 4-foot-11 Nicholson stopped two penalty kicks in the first shootout round, including the final one that lifted the Cougars to a 3-2 victory over Fort Myers Bishop Verot in the Class 2A-District 11 championship Friday night at Viking Stadium.

Both teams advance to next week's regionals with the Cougars getting a home match Thursday against District 11 runner-up Fort Myers Riverdale, a 2-1 loser to District 12 champion Estero, which captured its first district title.

It was Cardinal Mooney's second straight district title, but the first time the Cougars defeated the Vikings (14-3-2) for the title in the six years Terry Murphy has been head coach.

"It was good to do, a tribute to these kids," Murphy said.

The teams battled to a 2-2 tie during regulation with Cardinal Mooney (18-2) forcing overtime with 15.6 seconds remaining on the second of two goals by junior captain Hannah Howard.

After two 10-minute sudden death overtime sessions, the sides went to the shootout.

The Cougars have been practicing the penalty kicks in a shootout for the past week and a half.

"You're trying to see who's confident, who's not, who does the best," Murphy said. "I always make it like a contest with the penalty to put pressure on them."

Junior Sam Savinsky, sophomore Grace Casagrande, senior Erica Gress and freshman Sydney Norris converted the first four penalty kicks for the Cougars, who shot first. …

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