Women's soccer ends season, losing 4-2 on penalty kicks

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – With 45 seconds left in the CAA women’s soccer quarterfinals, the Northeastern Huskies’ Awnalisa Walker found the back of the net in traffic to level the game at 1-1. Thirty minutes later, the Huskies (0-0-1) were celebrating a tournament victory after winning the shootout 4-2.

The Patriots’ (0-0-1) Tiana Kallenberger was the last to shoot, but after making the first goal, could not put the one that counted into the net.

The Patriots dominated the first half. Just four minutes into the matchup, junior midfielder Mason took the first corner kick of the game. After a defensive deflection, Mary Kate Lowry found the ball in traffic, 10 yards from the goal. With an open net, Lowry shot the ball for the early lead, but went high for the crossbar.

Even on the defensive side, Mason won out. Freshman defender Paige Babel won two balls on all-out sprints, putting an end to any offensive attack before it started.

But for the rest of the game, possession was even. The Patriots found a few more offensive opportunities, with 10 shots and eight corner kicks to the Huskies’ seven and three, respectively. But they were all for naught. Northeastern goalie Paige Burnett, who ranks third in conference saves, blocked two shots in regulation. Seven of the Patriots’ shots were off-target.

With seven minutes to go in the first half, Babel nearly gave the Huskies the first goal of the game. She failed to clear a ball that came back in to the defensive line, leaving Veronica Napoli, the team’s leading goal-scorer, in a one-on-one with sophomore goalkeeper Lyndse Hokanson. The keeper dove to her right just in time to save the shot from 12 yards out.

The Patriots could not connect for most of the second half. Senior forward Zoe Doherty tried send the ball to meet junior forward Tiana Kallenberger, but three times it went just a foot or two too far.

But following a penalty against the Huskies just inside of midfield, senior defender Kelly Thomas took the free kick and sent it on goal. It was flicked on by redshirt sophomore midfielder Jazmin Cardoso to Kallenberger, who finished with goal in the left side of the goal.

“Northeastern’s legs got tired,” Mason head coach Diane Drake said. “And Tiana Kallenberger got in behind them.”

Kallenberger thought it was the game-winning goal.

“It felt great,” she said. “Such high emotion.”

Mason kept up the pressure, maintaining possession of the ball for the next few minutes, but with 50 seconds left in regulation, the defensive line made a mistake, leaving Kirby Anderson to cross the ball to defender Awnalisa Walker. Hokanson made a move to her right to play the ball as it was coming across, but it got past her for Walker to punch in, for her first collegiate goal.

“I’ve never been part of a goal that late, and on such a stage,” Northeastern head coach Tracey Leone said.

Two overtimes came and went with no difference in score. The best scoring chance came in the second overtime. Kallenberger crossed the ball to senior midfielder Zania Barnum, who gave the ball to Lowry, who had the game-winner blocked. Freshman forward Liz Hodges tried to clean it up, but could not get a foot on it. Cardoso made a last-ditch effort, but missed high, ending the second overtime.

The game went down as a tie, but for the conference tournament, the game went to a penalty shootout. The Huskies made all four of their shots past Hokanson.

“They say there’s no pressure on goalkeepers,” Hokanson said, making it clear she didn’t agree. “I couldn’t get a read on them.”

The Patriots’ Doherty missed the first for Mason, before Cardoso and Liz Agiato made both of theirs. Kallenberger stepped up for Mason’s last chance, but Northeastern’s Burnett read her perfectly, blocking the shot and winning the game.

“I read her body from the start,” Burnett said. “She didn’t look super confident […] and she opened right.”

The Patriots lost on penalty kicks again, after falling to James Madison 5-6 in last year’s tournament. Mason still has not won a postseason game since the quarterfinals of the 2001 CAA tournament, when they defeated UNC-Wilmington 3-0.

“We deserved more out of the game,” Drake said. “I’m not happy with penalty kicks in general.”

The men’s soccer team is still in action, but their playoff hopes are nearly finished.

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