Going into the regional semifinals, the Westlake girls soccer team hadn’t trailed in any match the entire season.
Just minutes into the game, the Chaparrals were behind.
Overcoming their first deficit – and second deficit, and shootout deficit – of the season, the Chaparral girls soccer team overcame odds over and over to top Sachse in penalty kicks Friday in the regional semifinal.
The Chaps trailed 4:04 into the match, then after tying it and sending it to overtime, trailed again a mere 32 seconds into OT. Again, Westlake found the equalizer to tie it up and send the match to penalty kicks.
In the deciding shootout, Sachse was in position to take the win by scoring on its sixth kick, but Chap goalie Kalli Douma had her biggest moment of the season when she leapt and slid to her left to make a save. Rachel Coyle made the ensuing penalty kick, and Sachse’s striker sent her shot over the crossbar and sent the Chaps onto the regional finals.
“We work on PKs every day after practice,” Douma said. “That’s what coach (Rennie) Rebe teaches you – working under pressure and making the save or making the goal under tons of amounts of pressure. I’m so proud of all of us … I hadn’t made a save yet, one had gone over, but I needed to make a save. I knew, ‘This is the time.’”
For nearly 68 minutes the Chaps trailed Sachse after the Mustangs’ Cyera Hintzen scored 4:04 into the match, and as the time ticked away Westlake was frenetically trying to net the equalizer.
Christy Goldberg finally broke through for the Chaps with a score in the 72nd minute to tie it at 1-1, and it stayed there until overtime. In overtime, again, Westlake found itself trailing right off the bat when Hintzen scored again 32 seconds into the extra period.
“We haven’t ever been down,” Goldberg said. “I did not expect them to score that fast … We came back from behind and we never had to do that before.”
For a second time, Westlake had to rally back and did so, with Grace Burr netting the equalizer after a shot by Emily Thurston bounced away from Sachse’s goalie and back into the field of play. Burr charged as the initial shot was fired and was in perfect position to notch the tying goal.
“I just knew we had to get one,” Burr said. “Right as she was catching the ball I was like, ‘Follow it, follow the ball … I gotta do it,’ and it just magically came out and I was like I am going to do everything to get this in the net … When they were cheering, I wasn’t touching the ground, I was kind of up there. We’ve never trailed, it shows when we want to get it done we’re gonna get it done. We don’t give up.”
In the first half, the Lady Mustangs mostly outplayed Westlake with physical play and terrific spacing. At halftime, Rebe was adamant that if her team just kept playing the way they know how, the goals would come.
“I felt they didn’t have as many shots as we did but they made the most of their shots,” Rebe said. “After a while it starts to wear on you, you’re thinking, ‘Gosh, we’ve had good opportunities.’ My most proud thing is the kids didn’t quit. We were behind the 8-ball in several moments, and we hadn’t been down all year. To see them respond by sheer will – this isn’t gonna be the end – is very exciting, I’m very proud of them.”
Leading up to the critical shootout moments, Douma had a bit fear fueling her.
“Fear, lots of fear, large amounts of fear,” she said. “After the save, excitement, so much excitement. I can’t talk. That’s what is so amazing; we do a lot of conditioning. Coach Rebe has taught us don’t give up, even when you feel like there’s nothing left in the tank.”
The Chaps flooded the field after Douma’s save and subsequent goal by Coyle and miss by Sachse.
“Kalli, I can honestly say, is the best goalie I’ve ever seen in PKs,” Goldberg said. “Part of that is she puts it into every single practice. She’s really good at reading body language and going with her instinct.”