Left: Northview's Jennifer Woodcox (#16) defends a Sullivan player during Saturday's sectional semifinal. Woodcox also became the single season scoring leader in Northview history.
Right: Tiffany Young (right) gets her head on the ball while Sullivan's Alex Jackson battles her for position.
TERRE HAUTE -- Sometimes history has a cruel and ironic way of repeating itself.
Just one year ago, the Northview Knights were the winners of a penalty kick shootout against Sullivan in a girls soccer sectional game. But on Saturday afternoon, it was the Golden Arrows that overcame a 1-0 deficit in the first half to force overtime. After two scoreless overtime periods, the Arrows won 4-3 in penalty kicks to take an official 2-1 semifinal victory.
"It's kinda sad that the game wasn't decided on the field," commented coach Don Bryan. "It's just one of those games that could have gone either way. It was a coin flip."
A coin flip looked like it might be very important factor early in the game as a strong breeze was blowing diagonally to one end of the field. The Knights elected to take the wind in the second half and Sullivan got the benefit in the first half.
With the wind at their backs, Sullivan took the pace of play to the Knights over the first 30 minutes of the first half.
Ten minutes into the game, a missed defensive assignment allowed an Arrows forward to get free and drill a shot to the far post, Northview keeper, Christina Arvin, deflected the ball and then gathered in the rebound in the nick of time.
Several minutes later, Sullivan's Birauna Davis settled a corner kick and just missed a shot wide of the net as Sullivan forced Arvin to make 13 saves in the first 40 minutes of the game. Numerous other shots were deflected by aggressive Northview defenders who had their hands full early on.
As time ticked down in the half however, it was the Knights who would take full advantage of one of their few chances in the first half.
Sage Graverson sent the ball forward from the midfield in the final minute of the half where Ashley Woodcox worked one-on-one against a Sullivan defender. She did a great job of shielding the ball from her defender and got the ball to Jennifer Woodcox who zipped a shot to the corner of the goal to stun the Sullivan fans with 29.7 left before break.
"Sage played probably her best game of the year," noted Bryan. "She really came on as the season went on."
In the second half, Sullivan would get on the board when a foul was called against Northview in their defensive box and a penalty kick was awarded. Paige Gill took the shot and scored to even the game at the 30:53 mark.
Not long afterwards, the aggressive play of both sides finally boiled over as Northview's Kelsey Haring and Alex Jackson got together and Haring was called for a foul. The pair had a bit of an altercation and Haring got the worst of the repercussion, being sent off with a redcard with Jackson receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct card.
After the call, the Knights were a man down the rest of the game due to IHSAA rules, but they stood tall against the challenge.
The Northview defense came through with some big plays and held Sullivan scoreless the remainder of regulation and sent the game to extra time.
In two, seven minute overtime periods, neither team was able to find the net which would send the teams to another fateful penalty kick session.
Sullivan would take the first PK and score with Anhya Alstott of the Knights responding with a shot to the low corner to even the tally. The Arrows came right back with another goal and Northview's Rachel Roeschlein again evened the score with her tally.
The Arrows got another score to go up again, but the Knights dropped behind when Brittney Tucker's shot got a piece of the left post and came out. The Arrows seemed poised to finish the Knights when they went up 4-2 on their next shot, but Abby Birkey drilled home a shot to keep hope alive for the Knights.
Things were even brighter when Arvin made a sterling, diving save of Gill's penalty kick, but in a cruel twist, Arvin's final shot went wide of the mark and the Arrows took a 4-3 decision to advance to play Terre Haute South in the final.
"We're a really young team," noted Bryan. "Obviously this isn't the brightest moment for them, but we'll lose just Kelsey (Haring) next year but everyone comes back. We were a much better team at the end of the season than we were at the start."
The Knights finished at 8-11 overall and broke the team single-season scoring record and Jennifer Woodcox earned the individual points record for a season.