Kindra Lierz didn’t have much time to pout. Mere seconds after rolling her penalty kick wide right, the Glendale senior had to step back between the pipes and get back to goalkeeping.
And goalkeep she did, stopping three PKs in a row to help the Lady Falcons clip archrival Kickapoo 1-0 at Lowe Stadium Wednesday night.
“I’ve learned over the years that I just have to clear that from my mind and start again,” said Lierz.
The all-state keeper wasn’t challenged much in the run of play, facing just a handful of shots from distance, but was steady in stopping three of five shots from 12 yards away. Glendale converted three PKs.
“They always say with goalkeepers you have to have a very short memory, because if you give up a goal you’ve got to shake it off,” said Glendale coach Jeff Rogers. “She was able to do that and read their shooters. I was happy for her to be able to do that.”
Lierz guessed correctly on Kenzie Dunaway’s opening kick, diving left but failing to get a glove on the shot. After pushing her own kick wide, she watched the next Lady Chiefs’ PK drift wide of the goal before going to her left to rob Taylor Merritt and right to punch away Alyson Reinold’s kick.
“The first two (shooters), I was on a club team with them,” said Lierz with a grin. “They always change it up every year. They’ve improved, I’ve improved, so it’s just all about what happens in that moment.”
Edyn King sent Lierz the wrong way to knot the shootout at 2, but Glendale junior Kasey Opfer slotted home her try to end the game.
“I’d rather have it not (end in penalty kicks), honestly,” said Opfer. “We all had a lot of chances – including me. I had a ton of silly mistakes and couldn’t finish the ball.”
It was a game Rogers called good, but not great. Neither team mounted serious threats in the first half and several attacks fizzled before a shot was put on frame in the second half. Most of the saves Lierz and Kickapoo freshman keeper Ari Acuff had to make were on long-range shots.
Action picked up in the golden goal overtimes, however, and Kickapoo (3-3) had the early momentum. The ball found Merritt open at the top of the 18 with three minutes left in the first extra session, but her shot went wide left. Melugin had shot from nearly the same spot with one minute to play, but pushed it wide right.
Glendale (3-0) controlled the second OT, getting a corner kick with 8:30 to play. Abby Greene sent a great ball in that bounced off a Lady Falcon head and foot, but Acuff stayed on her line and snared the ball to keep things scoreless and send it on to PKs.
“I think throughout the game we had some chances,” said Kickapoo coach Phil Hodge. “But our girls didn’t back down. We would’ve just as soon won it in the run of play. We gave ourselves a chance – multiple chances – but just couldn’t get it.”