By Anthony Jones
After 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, Triad and Waterloo girls soccer were sent to penalty kicks to decide the winner of the May 26 Marion Sectional final.
“It was a little nerve-wracking but I was trying to keep myself calm the whole time,” Triad goaltender Tavey Duncan said of the Knight’s first shootout since the 2021 season.
The senior goaltender’s nerves were hardly noticeable as she at least touched every shot she faced.
Laney Harshany opened the shootout with a conversion for Triad and a diving save from Duncan gave the Lady Knights a 1-0 lead. Caty Burton scored Triad’s next shot, but Waterloo converted their response to stay within 2-1.
With yet another successful Lady Knight shot off the foot of Jackie Barkus, Duncan stepped back into the net with a 3-1 advantage. The senior goaltender pushed a down the middle shot that hit the crossbar and bounced away for a miss.
With a chance to clinch the game, Abby Schaft buried the next Triad shot to leave with the shootout victory.
Prior to penalty kicks, both teams netted a goal in regulation.
Triad’s lone goal came off the foot of Burton, who scored with 16 minutes remaining in regulation. Her score marked her sixth of the postseason and made her the only Lady Knight to score in all four postseason matches so far.
“I didn’t really even realize I was going to score. I just fell down and I saw the ball. The last thing I did, I just put the ball towards the net, so I just shot it and it went in,” the captain said of her strike from 20 yards out.
Coach Matt Bettlach is not shocked about Burton’s significance to Triad’s postseason run.
Bettlach remarked of the senior who has scored six of her 13 season goals over the past two weeks, “Caty is a special kid and she’s the heart and soul of this team. She’s leading by example and I’m not surprised.”
Waterloo later equalized with 4:19 minutes remaining off a free kick. Duncan punched an initial shot away before the Bulldogs converted a second chance.
With two minutes remaining, Waterloo seemed set for another goal as Duncan was drawn off her line and Waterloo’s leading scorer Megan Jung was racing towards a loose ball with an empty net ahead of her.
Triad’s Barkus had other plans however, as she cut off the ball and killed the golden scoring chance.
“I want to practice tomorrow, that was just in my head. I want to be at practice tomorrow and I don’t want to be done,” the senior defender talked about her mindset during the clutch clearance.
Triad will return to action for the IHSA Super-Sectional round on May 30. They will travel to Glenwood to take on the Titans on their home field for a 5:00 pm kickoff.
Their meeting will mark the third consecutive season the two programs have met in the Super-Sectional round and sixth consecutive postseason with the two meeting each other. The Lady Knights have won their previous five playoff matchups, including consecutive 2-0 wins in the Super-Sectional game.
The Titans enter this year’s meeting with the superior record, having a 19-4-1 start compared to Triad’s 15-7-3 standing.
The winner of their matchup will advance to the IHSA State Finals hosted by Naperville’s North Central College. They will play the winner of Fenwick or Chicago(De La Salle) in the semifinals on June 2.
A win there would earn a spot in the championship game the following day at 1:00 pm and a loss would move the team into the third place game scheduled for 11:00 am.