With the crowd cheering as Paris Moore walked up to the penalty kick spot, the Inglemoor junior was calm and ready to go.
The Viking nailed the kick and gave her team a 2-1 victory over Bellarmine in the first round of the 4A state tournament on Nov. 13 at Pop Keeney Stadium. The players ran toward Moore and piled on top of each other to celebrate the thrilling victory.
“I just knew I had to put it in the goal. I did it for my team, and I knew going up to it that I had the confidence to do it,” Moore said about 10 minutes following the match.
Following a pair of five-minute scoreless overtime periods, Inglemoor won the shootout, 3-2, also receiving goals from seniors Rachel Conchi and Kaycie Suzuki and one save from junior goalkeeper Eden Iyall. Bellarmine knocked two kicks over the goal.
Next up in the tournament, Inglemoor (14-1-3) defeated Union (12-4-3) on Nov. 16, notching a 1-0 victory on an Ashly Berge score to send the Vikings to the state semifinals. They will play Auburn Riverside (19-1-1) at 6 p.m. on Nov. 22 at Sparks Stadium in Puyullap. The final is a 4 p.m. on Nov. 23 at Sparks.
After the Bellarmine match, Iyall said that standing between the posts during PKs is a mental game.
“I’ve had some experience with it and I just felt really comfortable going into it,” she said. “I have so much faith in my team. I know they’re gonna score theirs and I know they have faith in me, so I feel really good whenever I walk up there.”
Viking head coach Kent Nelke said the team worked on PKs in practice one to two times a week for the last four weeks. With a smile, Nelke said he told his players they would win if the game reached PKs. On the goalkeeper front, he noted that Iyall looked stone-cold confident before the shootout began.
“I had that much confidence in them as shooters, as a goalkeeper, as a team in general. I just knew we had prepared for this, didn’t wanna have it get to this, but we prepared for this and it paid off in the end, so it was fantastic,” Nelke said.
Inglemoor junior Berge tallied first with a 30-yard shot over the goalkeeper in the 41st minute. Bellarmine (6-7-2) evened the score with a goal in the 70th minute and hammered the crossbar in the 78th minute.
Nelke said the Vikings were in control when they kept the ball on the ground and played it wide to their players and attacked the corners. Bellarmine pulled the Vikings out of their game for a while with a direct style and utilized their height to win balls, Nelke added.
The Vikings controlled the flow of play for most of the first half, with Berge hitting the crossbar twice and the goalkeeper notching two saves on a Berge flick and strong shot on goal. Also in the first half, Berge crossed the ball in to Moore, who was denied a goal by the keeper as the two players collided.
After participating in a “1-2-3 Viks!” cheer after the match, Berge said she was glad to finally get her goal.
“I knew it was coming, it took a while, so when I cut in and I saw it was open, I was like, ‘Why not take it?’” she said.
Junior Julianna Barker said the crowd and her teammates hype her up during the match to keep her nonstop energy flowing.
“It was a battle,” she said of the match. “The nerves were definitely more up there. We knew it was worth more, so we were all playing harder and for each other. That team is definitely the best team we’ve played so far.”
Iyall also praised the fans for bringing their full voice during the intense match — during the run of play and in PKs.
“I feel like after you start playing into it, my mind feels clear,” she said.