Lady Bisons lose overtime heartbreaker in District 9 semifinals
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
By Josh Mlot Sports Writer
BRADFORD - Sometimes it's the missed opportunities that count the most.
It seemed like just a matter of time for the Clearfield girls soccer team in the District 9 Class AAA semifinal on Tuesday night, as the Lady Bisons (7-9-4) peppered the Bradford net, outshooting the homestanding Owls 16-8.
But that time never came, and countless chances ended in disappointment, as did the game.
With neither team able to generate a goal through 80 minutes of play, the match went to sudden-death overtime, and after perhaps being lucky to even get to overtime, it was Bradford that got the final bounce.
The Lady Owls sent in three consecutive corner kicks midway through the first overtime period, and the third skipped into a scrum in the 6-yard box, where Kate Visbisky smacked it home for a 1-0 win and a championship berth for Bradford (10-9) in the 88th minute of play.
"Unfortunately, we had our scoring opportunities, just couldn't capitalize on them," Clearfield head coach Jen Wright said. "We outshot them the entire game. It just takes one opportunity, and (on) that opportunity they capitalized.
"When you give up three corner kicks in a row, one's going to end up in the back of the net. You hope it doesn't happen, but it happened.
"They wanted to go to the District 9 championship game, and (the seniors) wanted to win it before they left. That was their goal. Unfortunately, we just fell one goal short of that tonight. I think both teams wanted it, and our team played with a lot of heart and intensity."
Bradford pulled out the victory despite the fact that starting striker Alice Chen was not in the lineup, mostly because it knew the night was most likely going to end up in the slugfest that it did.
"We knew that it was going to be a battle," Bradford head coach Tony Doriguzzi said. "We're pretty evenly matched.
"We've been practicing penalty kicks this week because we thought, for sure, it was going to come down to a penalty-kick decision."
Keeper Kayla Hayden finished the night with 12 saves for the Lady Owls, including a pair of stops within a minute midway through the second half that kept her team in the game.
"Their goalie played a phenomenal game," Wright said. "She was everywhere, it seemed like, and she made some great saves."
In the 59th and 60th minutes, Clearfield got chances to go ahead when B.J. Bowman cut back in the box and ripped one on net, and again when Brooke Mohney turned and sent the ball toward goal, but Hayden punched away both efforts.
"That really kept us in the match," Doriguzzi said. "Those two saves were probably what saved us and sent us on to the championship game."
But the real game-saver may have come during extra time. In just the third minute of overtime Bowman looked ready to finally break onto the scoreboard, busting through the defense and running toward the box with nothing but space.
Yet somehow Bradford defender Elizabeth Gardner tore in from the left side to shutdown the sophomore forward and keep alive a game that seemed destined to come to an end.
"That would have probably easily been a goal," Doriguzzi said. "Elizabeth Gardner came across and made that (stop), that was huge. That really gave us some momentum."
That opportunity was the last of many for the Lady Bisons and Bowman, who made her presence felt in the match's opening minutes when she bulled through a crowd of defenders in the box, but touched her shot just wide to the right.
Minutes later, Bowman took a through-ball from Mohney that split the Bradford backline, but again the attempt was knocked wide.
"We wanted our forwards and outside mids to push up and get numbers up," Wright said. "We got the crosses from our outside mids, we got the runs and just couldn't finish.
"(The Lady Owls) had their opportunities at times, and, yeah, I think we had more opportunities than them. We just couldn't hit the back of the net."
Bradford's best chance of the game came late in the second half, when a cross from the left wing by Kara Harbaugh took a funny bounce off the turf and skipped toward the net.
But Clearfield keeper Brandie Centi was on her toes and made a game-saving stop as she dove to her left, pulling in the ball right on the goal line.
"Brandie Centi, I've always been really impressed with her," Doriguzzi said. "She did a phenomenal job tonight. She made one save on the goal line that could have been the difference in the game."
For Centi and her fellow seniors, the loss was a disappointing end to a successful run.
"I think all of our seniors did great from start to finish this season," Wright said. "Brandie Centi, Brooke Mohney, Lisa Bumbarger, Jayme Ryan, Janell Zalno, Katlyn Reddinger, Samantha Boulton, Taylor Casher, Matalica Jarvis, and Jessica Maines, they played four excellent years for us and gave a lot of their time.
"It's time for the junior class to carry the torch, and hopefully we'll find ourselves back here in the semifinal game again, and we'll be on top headed to the championship game."
"Clearfield's always been a tough opponent," Doriguzzi said. "We like their girls and enjoy playing them, and it was difficult to watch some of those girls go out tonight because we've played against them for so long. I wish them all the best of luck."
Bradford will now play DuBois, 6-0 winners over Punxsutawney, in the D-9 final on Thursday.
Bradford 1, Clearfield 0 (OT)
1. Kate Visbisky, B, (unassisted), 87:29.
Shots: Clearfield 16, Bradford 8.
Saves: Clearfield (Brandie Centi) 4, Bradford (Kayla Hayden) 12.
Corners: Clearfield 3, Bradford 7.