Scottsdale Chaparral senior Katie Clemmons has a no-nonsense approach to penalty kicks.
She has a plan of attack made long before she ever approaches the net and doesn’t deviate no matter what. She leaves no opportunities to second-guess herself.
The defender’s surefootedness and her unshakable nerves were a winning combination Saturday as Clemmons helped Chaparral defeat Tucson Catalina Foothills 4-3 (3-1) on penalty kicks and clinch the gold bracket championship in the Horizon Huskies Tournament of Champions at Horizon High School.
Chaparral was ahead 2-1 in penalty kicks when Clemmons’ turn arrived. Her goal sealed the victory.
“We practice them every day at practice so I just pretended like it was just practice and kept my composure and got the job done,” she said.
Chaparral rebounded to take the title after losing 6-0 to Phoenix Xavier in the last match of open play earlier in the tournament.
“They’re both really good teams,” Chaparral coach Robyn Carlson said. “They just kept fighting and fighting.”
Catalina Foothills jumped to a 2-1 lead at intermission, but a more fired-up offense came out for Chaparral in the second half. A goal by Allison Jordan in the 50th minute tied things up at 2-2 and another by Ali Kallner in the 57th minute put Chaparral up 3-2. It was Chaparral’s first lead of the game.
But Catalina Foothills wasn’t going down without a fight. It continued to penetrate Chaparral’s defense in the final ten minutes and finally found the net in the 75th minute with a goal by Aleah Strength to tie things back up at 3.
Catalina Foothills played with an aggressive four-forward offense for the final three minutes in an attempt to end the match in regulation, but couldn’t find an open shot. There is no overtime play under tournament rules and Catalina Foothills coach Charlie Kendrick said he knew it was anybody’s game as it came down to PKs.
“It’s a crapshoot at that point,” he said. “I don’t think anybody likes it… but we’ve been on both sides. Last year, we won this tournament on penalty kicks.”
Catalina Foothills was without its starting keeper, Laura DeMers who was out with an injured finger.