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Tear-jerker penalty kick loss to Raiders

Lady Spartans fall, 2-1, to Williamsburg
Lady Spartan senior Payton Wheeler moves the ball up field ahead of the defense on Thursday, May 2, at Spartan Stadium. Solon fell victim to the Raiders, 2-1, following 80 minutes of regulation play, two 10-minute overtimes and a penalty kick-off.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans knocked on the door but got turned away as a result of a shootout after 100 minutes of play in Spartan Stadium on Thursday, May 2, losing 2-1 to the visiting Williamsburg Raiders.
It was a vocal game on both sides of the pitch as coaches urged players, players directed traffic, communicated moves and executed. The Raiders’ Dalen Mueller scored just under the 22-minute mark in the first half just over Solon keeper Brenna Gogel’s reach. The half ended with Williamsburg leading, 1-0, and Solon knocking on the door several times but unable to access the goal in the final minutes of the half.
The second half started and Solon wasted little time in knotting the score. Kenzie Pentico headed a ball into the net to make it 1-1 courtesy of an assist by Sylvia Havlicek with about 35 minutes remaining in regulation play. The remainder of regulation was played with both teams making forays near the goals but unable to deliver.
The first overtime was battled to scoreless completion, as was the second, culminating in a penalty kick shootout, with Solon coming up on the tough end, 2-1.
“Tough is an understatement,” Head Coach Amanda Paulson commented. “The girls played with so much heart and fight which made this loss heartbreaking. We simulated PK's in one practice, although it’s not something I like to practice because I'm a little superstitious. I definitely think there is a large psychological component to penalty kicks. The athletes are used to 80-100 minutes of team-based play so there is a big transition to this one-on-one moment in time.”
Coach Paulson elaborated on the vibe in the locker room following the loss. “The players were definitely bummed following the game, and exhausted. I told them I was proud of them and their effort on the field. Obviously, it was not the outcome we were hoping for, but they played and fought for 100 minutes,” she said.
The second loss of the week for the Lady Spartans moved them to 4-7 on the season, while the Raiders were elevated to 6-3 following the win.
During 100 minutes of play, junior keeper Brenna Gogel allowed only one goal and recorded three saves. Junior Sylvia Havlicek was responsible for one assist and two shots, one on goal. Freshman Alex Locke made a shot, senior Piper Radcliffe shot twice, sophomore Sydney Rissman took a shot and senior Kenzie Pentico shot twice, once for the sole Lady Spartan point.
When asked about individual performances from the game, Coach Paulson was hard pressed to single anyone out for recognition after the scrappy battle.
She said, “Everyone on the field had outstanding performances. Each and every player stepped up and played with 100 percent effort.”
Arguably one of the most vocal games of the Lady Spartans season on both ends of the pitch, communication was a big part of nearly triumphing over the Raiders.
“Yes, I'm a bit of a loud mouth,” Coach Paulson said with a smile. “I was calling out to them to play through or run through the ball. In the first half, we were getting pushed off the ball, so I was asking the players to run through and play a little tougher/more physical. I felt this was much better in the second half.”
The Lady Spartans trek to Vinton Shellsburg on Thursday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m., after a seven-day break. Then it is tournament play on Saturday, May 11, at Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School, the tournament starts at 9 a.m. and play extending until 9 p.m. with Solon’s match ups yet to be announced.
“The girls are getting a little rest and then it’s back to the grind,” Coach Paulson said. “The fans can expect some tough games coming up on Thursday and through the next weekend.”
The Lady Spartans finish up regular season play hosting Clear Creek Amana at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, then travel to Independence on Thursday, May 16, for a 5:30 p.m. kick. They host Iowa City Regina Catholic on Tuesday, May 21, with the girls taking to the pitch for an early start at 4:30 p.m.
Lady Spartan statistics from the Thursday, May 2, game against Williamsburg, courtesy of Quikstatsiowa.com:
Williamsburg 2, Solon 1.
Goals – Kenzie Pentico 1.
Assists – Sylvia Havlicek 1.
Shots – Havlicek 2, Alex Locke 1, Pentico 1, Piper Radcliffe 2, Sydney Rissman 1.
Shots on goal – Havlicek 1, Pentico 1.