ROCHELLE — Eighty minutes and seven rounds of shots on goal weren’t enough to decide the Rochelle Lady Hub varsity football team’s game against Plano on Monday.
Shooting to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Sycamore last Wednesday, Rochelle battled through regulation, erasing one-goal deficits twice to end the second half in a 2-2 draw with the Reapers. Rather than ending the game with a tie, both teams prepared for penalty shootouts, with Plano earning the right to shoot first.
Both teams went 1 for 5 during the shootout rounds, with junior Kailey Harris hitting in the first of Rochelle’s shootout to keep the Lady Hubs alive and extend the shootout to sudden death, where the team that won the round would be declared. the winner. Both Plano and Rochelle missed the sixth round, but after the Reapers found the net to open the seventh round, junior Kyra Rimstidt responded with a score to give Lady Hubs another chance.
Sophomore Danica Ward came on in the eighth round for Rochelle, standing tall and winning the save to give her sophomore teammate Kara Martinez a chance to win the game for the Lady Hubs. With all eyes on Plano’s net, Martinez moved forward and sent a right-footed boot past the Reaper goaltender, sealing a 3-2 victory for the Lady Hubs.
“My teammates have done a lot for me,” Martinez said. “They help me a lot in training and taking that shot for them was a huge confidence booster for me. I doubted myself for a minute but my teammates kept cheering me on and that’s what allowed me to get that shot in. It’s a huge confidence booster for all of us because we came back after a tough start to the game and I think it’s a really good sign for our team that we were able to win today.
Although Rochelle (3-5, 2-1 Interstate 8) outshot the Reapers 23-5, 7-3, Plano took advantage of the few scoring opportunities he won throughout the game, taking a 1-0 lead in the first minute. Rookie Makayla Lara sent the equalizer in the 21st minute, placing a left-footed shot into the upper left of Plano’s net.
The Reapers regained the lead shortly before half-time, scoring in the 39th minute to take a 2-1 advantage in the second half, where Lady Hubs continued to pressure in attack. Rochelle broke through in the 61st minute, where Harris sent a ball into the Plano box which second Sydney Thorne found before assisting Lara for her second goal of the day.
The score remained 2-2 after regulation before both teams entered the field for the penalty shootout, where Ward managed to deter six of the Reapers’ eight shots.
“My heart was pounding all the time,” Ward said. “I did everything I could to stay focused and not let anything get in my head. Whenever the game comes down to penalties it really becomes a guessing game for me because it’s difficult figuring out where the players are going to shoot the ball. It’s a huge confidence booster for us because I think we’re really starting to come together as a team. We’re already connecting and pushing each other.