SOUTHLAKE — For the second consecutive game, Grapevine’s season hinged on penalty kicks, and again they pulled out a victory – their 16th straight – knocking off Midlothian in a girls Class 5A Region I Area matchup at Dragon Stadium.
Sophomore goalkeeper Riley Ott made a season-defining save in the seventh round of the shootout and Tori Sledge knocked home the winning PK after the Mustangs and Panthers played scoreless through 100 minutes.
“When you take a penalty kick, or are trying to save someone else’s PK, those are character moments,” Grapevine coach Ryan Davis said. “Does it take skill? Yes, but more so it takes concentration and it takes unwavering self-belief. And when our kids step up they believe they can do it and they did.”
Midlothian’s Jessica Bogy stepped to the spot with a chance to win the game for the Panthers (15-7-6), but Ott guessed correctly and dove to her left to parry the shot wide and keep Grapevine alive. After Sledge scored in her attempt, Kamy Martin’s shot struck the crossbar to give the Mustangs (19-4-4) the victory.
“It’s the mentality of goalkeeping,” Ott said. “You have to have that kind of confidence that you know that you’re going to make the next save and that’s what your teammates are calling on you to do and that’s what you have to do.”
Neither team managed much offense in the first half. Grapevine’s first serious threat came in the 19th minute, when Tori Bowman unleashed a bending shot from 30 yards out that seemed to fool Panthers keeper Dani Mayfield as it slipped through her hands, but she was able to get enough of the ball that it dribbled wide left.
Early in the second half, things got shaky for the Grapevine defense. First, Midlothian’s Danielle Bourgeois made a run down the right side before cutting in and firing a left-footed shot on target, but Ott, who replaced Taylor Braun at halftime, was up to the task.
Moments later, Harley Floyd broke through the center of the Mustangs defense and Ott came off her line to slide tackle the ball away. Her clearance landed at the feet of a Panthers player who couldn’t get a shot on the open target.
Two minutes later, it was Grapevine on the attack, as Kendall Vardell and Bowman combined on a pair of passes before Bowman’s shot was well saved.
Bowman again came close in the 54th minute, driving a left-footed shot from 30 yards out that struck the crossbar. Then, Tori Sledge almost broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when she volleyed a cross just past the left upright.
Bridget Hamway had a good opportunity in the overtime period when she one-timed a Sledge corner kick just wide right, but neither team could ultimately finish.
“It’s nerve-wracking because when it comes down to the end like that in penalty kicks it could go any way,” Davis said. “Fortunately, this one went our way. I felt like it was a fair result and that we were the best team this evening.”
Grapevine will face Hebron (17-3-3) next week in the 5A Region I regional quarterfinals next week.
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