In a soccer shootout, the pressure usually sits squarely on the shoulders of the goalkeeper.
Bishop Gorman’s Kirsten Kircher found a way to put that stress on Coronado’s shooters.
With the Class 4A Desert Region championship tied 2-2 after regulation and two overtimes, Kircher stopped the first two penalty kicks of the shootout as the Gaels prevailed Saturday at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex.
In the scheduled five-round shootout, Gorman (24-0-1) connected on four straight penalty kicks to two for Coronado and advances to meet Faith Lutheran (20-2) at 6 p.m. Monday at Rancho for the Southern Nevada Championship.
“Honestly, I just went into the PKs and I was just like, ‘Save the first two and it’s over right there,’ ” Kircher said. “It was just amazing for me to get my hand on it.”
Coronado’s Kaitlyn Kowalchuk sent a low shot toward the right corner on the first attempt, but Kircher dived left and made the save. After the Gaels converted their first attempt, Kircher then made a leaping save on a shot by Haley Meusy that appeared to be headed into the upper left corner.
“The first one was a great save. The second one might be the best PK save I’ve ever seen,” Gorman coach Doug Borgel said. “Pretty solid. It gave us confidence, and the rest of the girls stepped up and hit great shots.”
Coronado (19-1-3) nearly won in regulation, leading 2-1 with less than two minutes to play. That’s when Ashtyn Fink settled a ball on the right wing, turned and hit a long shot that drifted over the head of Coronado goalkeeper Taylor Book and inside the far post, tying the game.
Bishop Gorman (24-0-1) will face Faith Lutheran (20-2) at 6 p.m. Monday at Rancho for the Southern Nevada Championship.
Faith Lutheran wins Mountain title
On a free kick from midfield, Faith Lutheran’s Hannah Thomas’ shot to the net bounced off the Palo Verde keeper and to Madison Sonerholm, who chipped in the winner with three minutes remaining, giving the Crusaders a 2-1 victory and the Mountain Region title.
“The keeper dropped it and I followed it back in,” Sonerholm said. “You just can’t give up on any play, and since it was like the last two minutes, I really wanted a goal.”
Palo Verde (13-5-3) had an 18-8 advantage in shots but managed only Carlee Giamonna’s penalty kick in the 29th minute.
Amelia McManus scored in the 47th minute to even the game.
“I thought Palo played really well today, and I thought we were little bit off of what we wanted to do,” Faith Lutheran coach Steve Morrill said. “Sometimes the ball bounces your way, and it bounced our way at the end.”
Pahrump beats Western in 3A
Makayla Gent scored on an assist from Hailie Souza to lead Pahrump Valley to a 1-0 victory over Western in the Class 3A Southern region title game
Hannah McElheny had the shutout for Pahrump (15-4-2)
Western falls to 14-5.