2A girls' soccer: Waterford edges St. Joseph on PKs to defend title

2A girls' soccer • The Ravens beat St. Joseph in the shootout 3-0.
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Sandy • Sydney Harrison didn't realize her shootout goal clinched Waterford's second consecutive Class 2A state championship until she turned around and saw the wave of teammates headed her way.

"I know it was on the scoreboard, but I just zoned it out," the senior midfielder said. "I made it and turned around to jog back and everyone was running toward me. That was the biggest adrenaline rush."

Harrison's goal, directly over St. Joseph goalkeeper Ali Kohler, capped a 3-0 shootout triumph Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium after the teams finished regulation and overtime tied 1-1.

Waterford goalkeeper Lauren Groathouse made a leaping stop on Kate Weil's attempt — the third for the Jayhawks — and set the stage for Harrison, who capped the Ravens' second come-from-behind victory in two days.

Harrison is one of a handful of seniors who remembers losing a shootout to St. Joseph in the 2010 title game. She and the four other Ravens who participated in the shootout Saturday spent a few minutes on the ground in preparation for the defining moment.

"We knew we had to focus," Harrison said. "We were out of our minds after that loss, so we just knew all we have to do is meditate. We knew it was all in our heads because we knew we had the skill."

Waterford was fortunate to be playing past regulation considering the improbable nature of the game-tying goal. Waterford sophomore Grace Sponaugle's shot from about 30 yards away bounced off St. Joseph keeper Ali Kohler's hands and into the net in the 63rd minute.

"I honestly did not think it was going in when I kicked it," said Sponaugle, who scored twice in Friday's semifinal and scored the game-winner in last year's state title game. "It was one of the happiest moments of my life."

Waterford appeared to have taken a 2-1 lead in the 70th minute, but it was ruled the ball crossed the end line and out of bounds before the goal.

The Ravens (12-5-1) have won four of the past seven titles, and Saturday marked the fourth consecutive year Waterford and St. Joseph met in the season's final game.

Waterford coach Tim Dolbin left the stadium shivering after he received an ice water victory bath last year. He was ready this year. He pulled the hood of his jacket over his head before the water cooler was tipped.

"I didn't want it to come down to a shootout, but we practiced the shootout for two weeks straight," Dolbin said. "It just paid off.

"This year I was ready [for the ice water]. Last year I froze the rest of the night. I just pulled the hood over and said, 'All right, bring it on.'"

Senior Katie Panushka scored in the 16th minute for St. Joseph, ending a scramble in front of the net for her fifth goal of the season. —

Waterford 1, St. Joseph 1

Waterford wins 3-0 on PKs

R Waterford goalkeeper Lauren Groathouse does not allow a goal during penalty kicks.