When two teams can’t score in soccer, they stop playing the full-field game and reduce the action to penalty kicks.
For University High, it was a season-ending miniaturization.
Chuckey-Doak defeated the Lady Junior Bucs by an official final score of 1-0, outscoring them 4-3 on penalty kicks in the Region 1-A/AA semifinals Tuesday night at Summers-Taylor Stadium.
UH finished its year at 8-5 while Doak improved to 9-6-2 and advanced to Thursday’s title game against Greeneville, which defeated Sullivan South, 4-1
What set up the PK drama was two 40-minute periods of scoreless soccer, followed by two 10-minute periods of the same. Then after a pair of 5-minute sudden death periods, the teams lined up and took their shots on goal.
Savannah Wexler connected for UH first, but Doak answered. After each team missed — with UH getting a nice save from goalkeeper Taylor Treadway — Belle Bright’s shot sizzled inside the left post for a 2-1 advantage.
Doak fought back for the tie, but Aubrey Campbell pushed the Junior Bucs back in front. Again, Doak answered to make it 3-3.
When Lady Black Knights’ goalkeeper Beth Ann Burns denied UH’s fifth attempt, the game was in the hands of Doak’s Alicia Phillips.
“You know it’s do or die, and you know it’s all on the line,” said Phillips. “I had given 100 percent on the field, and I knew no matter what happened we could hold our heads high. I was thinking all glory to God because we gave 100 percent.”
In practice, Phillips said her PK attempts always go to the same spot: left corner. Phillips took a rip and planted it inside the left post, leaving UH stunned and touching off a Chuckey-Doak celebration.
“I have a superstition you can feel the ball is going in when you kick it,” said Phillips. “So I had confidence it was going in.”
Treadway couldn’t pull off her second PK stop, but it was her play in goal that got the Junior Bucs that deep into the game. She made a pair of terrific saves in the second half to keep the Black Knights scoreless.
“She has tremendous heart,” said UH assistant coach Caitlyn Epps. “She’s had back trouble, and she has been on crutches and laying in bed. But there was no question she was going to play tonight.”
UH had its chances in regulation play, but couldn’t get its best shots on frame. Three times the shots were high, and two of them just barely went over the crossbar.
“We were pretty unlucky the whole game,” said Epps. “And it was a sloppy game for us. We didn’t put more than a couple of passes together. We weren’t creative with the ball.”
The end of the game was spotlighted, but Epps said UH didn’t really lose the contest at that point.
“We told the players at the end of the game it wasn’t their fault,” said Epps. “It was up to us to score earlier. Every person on the team was to blame.
“And the coaches were to blame. We didn’t have the team as ready as we should have. (Penalty kicks) was a hard position to be in.”