SANDY— There was a moment just more than two weeks ago when Waterford's freshman goalkeeper Jeannie Woller thought her season was over — that her soccer career was going to be put on hold and she had a long road to recovery ahead of her.
She and the rest of her Ravens teammates are happy that the initial diagnosis of torn ligaments in her left knee proved untrue. Woller suffered only a deep bruise, and she recovered quickly enough to rejoin her team on its march through the 3A state soccer playoffs.
Woller's and Waterford's run ended Saturday in the most dramatic fashion as the Ravens beat Park City 5-4 in a shootout that went six deep — and captured the 3A state championship.
"I was hoping that somehow my team would score there in the closing minutes of the double overtime," said Woller. "When they didn't, I just said to myself, 'All right, we've been practicing this. You've been working on this forever. You can do it. Don't be lazy; this isn't practice. You've got to step it up."'
Waterford stepped it up in the pressure-packed penalty kicks. After Park City goalkeeper Cassie Palmacci saved the first shooter's attempt — a feat that Woller had achieved just moments before as the Ravens were the first team to shoot — the next five players stepped in and calmly hit the ball in the back of the net.
"We were prepared if it came down to that," said coach Tim Dolbin of the shootout. "We had charted out our first seven shooters and had practiced it over the last couple of weeks knowing that the playoffs it was a distinct possibility that it could happen. As the clock wound down, I thought that we would be okay if it came to penalty kicks."
The Ravens' Taylor Ritzman, Lanie Ward, Kimi Miyashima, Katie Crosland and Hailey Karg went in that order, and with the pressure mounting on each ensuing shot, all converted their chance.
"I was nervous and hoped it wouldn't come to me," said Karg, the sixth and first extra shooter. "But when it came my turn, I knew that I had practiced it and that if I just did what I was used to, I could make it."
Woller may have been the Ravens' MVP in regulation and overtime. Park City probably should have scored at least one goal in the opening half. The Miners controlled the run of play and had far more opportunities at net. Parade All-American Lindsi Lisonbee had a shot in the 22nd minute from just outside the penalty area that looked destined for the back of the net. Woller made a diving stop at the last instance to keep it out.
"I don't really want to single anybody out because they all did a terrific job, but Jeannie was outstanding today," said Dolbin. "There were several times she made saves that kept us in the game. Park City probably deserved one in the first half, but I thought after that, it was pretty even."
Waterford leaves 3A next season with the high school realignment, something that the soccer team still feels is an injustice.
"I know I am not supposed to say it, but we belong in 3A," said Dolbin. "It is a shame that a team can win the state title at 3A and then get dropped to 2A."