Waverly-Shell Rock goalkeeper Nicole Staines held destiny — and the soccer ball — in her hands.
Staines stopped a last-second shot on goal to preserve her team’s 2-1 win over Pleasant Valley in a Class 2-A state girls’ soccer semifinal Friday at Cownie Soccer Complex.
She grabbed a line drive kick and made sure the clock ran out.
“I knew that I had enough time to make the catch,” said Staines, a senior. “I only had about 2 seconds left, so I held onto it. I didn’t want a rebound.”
Pleasant Valley, which finished 12-9, scored first on Ellie Kurth’s unassisted goal just 2 minutes into the match.
Waverly-Shell Rock’s Haley Grawe scored 33 minutes into the match on an assist from Shelby Hemer.
Morgan Neuendorf added the winning goal 45 minutes into the match.
Waverly-Shell Rock (20-2) advanced to Saturday’s championship.
North Scott 1, Cedar Rapids Xavier 0 (5-4, PK)
The streak is over.
North Scott held eight-time defending champion Cedar Rapids Xavier in a deadlock for 100 minutes in Friday’s Class 2-A semifinal, making a crafty switch for penalty kicks to unseat the soccer superpower.
The Saints owned Iowa’s longest run of girls’ team titles, but losing 5-4 in the shootout will leave them out of a title game for the first time since 2003.
“You hate for a game like that to end that way, but we might have been out here three hours if we didn’t go to PKs,” North Scott coach Dion Ayers said.
After two halves and two overtimes were played scoreless on Cownie Soccer Complex’s Field 6, Ayers had forward Lindsay Gallens put on a goalkeeper’s jersey and step in for penalty kicks. She saved the first shot from Xavier’s outstanding midfielder Marisa Berutti, and the Lancers (17-4) found the net in every round.
“(Gallens) is so quick off her line and reads those hips, so we were like, ‘You know what, let’s go with her because we know she’s going to make a full attempt every time,’ ” Ayers said. “It worked. We only needed one.”
Xavier (11-8) lost seven starters off its 2013 title team and competed being both thin and young on Friday.
“We weren’t really worried about nine (titles) because we already had the state record,” Xavier coach Bailey Winter said. “We were relying on freshmen at the state tournament, but those are the cards we were dealt. It was impressive the way they handled it.”
Both teams racked up set pieces without too many dangerous shots. The Saints defended for long stretches of the second half and first overtime, blocking or deflecting North Scott’s advances.
“No matter what we have for a team, we’re here to compete,” Winter said. “All we ask is that they give full effort and have no regrets and leave it on the field. And I feel that they did that.”
North Scott was eliminated on penalty kicks in last year’s 2-A tournament. The Lancers will be playing for their first state girls’ soccer championship on Saturday.
“Ups and downs, goosebumps, but now we’ve got to finish it off,” Ayers said.
— Chris Cuellar