ST. CLAISVILLE - The Beavers are still in the hunt.
The Beaver Local girls' soccer team gained a measure of revenge and redemption as the Beavers recorded a thrilling 1-1 (2-1 in shootout) victory over Edison in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Co-Final Saturday afternoon down at Red Devil Stadium in St. Clairsville.
With the win, the Beavers improve to 4-14 on the season, and Beaver Local has now won back-to-back sectional titles.
The Beaver Local girls soccer team celebrates its 2-1 shootout win over Edison in a Division II sectional co-final on Saturday in St. Clairsville. (Photo by Fred Younce)
"It is a great feeling to share back-to-back sectional titles," Beaver Local head coach Liz Connor said. "We are excited about having the opportunity for our season to continue.
"It is always a close game whenever we play Edison. It is unfortunate the game had to be decided by a shootout."
Beaver Local will now play in the Eastern District Co-Final at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Philo High School.
With the loss, the Wildcats end the season at 3-11-2.
Edison was done by its old nemesis the shootout. The Wildcats have only won one shootout in the program's history. That victory came last year in the regional semifinals.
"If you can't make your PK's, you can't win," Edison head coach Jeremy Angelo said.
"The game was back and forth. Both teams had opportunities in regulation. Both teams had chances in overtime.
"If you can't get the ball on that 8 by 24 goal, you aren't going to win a penalty kick shootout."
The Beavers broke the Wildcats' hearts like Edison had done to Beaver Local in the two team's last two matchups.
Last year Edison's Kayla Prokopakis, who was in attendance Saturday, scored a golden goal to lift the Wildcats to a 1-0 victory over Beaver Local in the Eastern District Final. In 2009, Edison defeated Beaver Local, 4-3, in a sectional game played down at Harding Stadium in Steubenville.
"It feels good," Beaver Local senior Brittany Mesler said about beating the Wildcats. "We had never beaten them before. It feels good to get revenge."
Beaver Local advanced to the sectional final by defeating Big Red, 2-0, in the semifinals Wednesday night. Alex Eisenhart and Hannah Cochran each recorded goals in the second half to lift the Beavers past Big Red.
Edison advanced by defeating East Liverpool, 1-0, on a golden goal by Kylie Long with 10:23 left to play in the first overtime period.
Eisenhart also played a key role in Beaver Local's win over Edison. Eisenhart tallied a goal in regulation, and she added another one in the shootout.
Neither team scored in the final 76:18 of game time, and the game headed into the shootout tied at 1.
The Beavers were the first to kick in the shootout.
Senior Heather Swickard stepped up to take the kick, but her shot sailed over the goal keeping the shootout scoreless. Sophomore Bethanie Bube was the first shooter for the Wildcats. Her shot sailed over the goal keeping things scoreless.
Eisenhart was the second shooter for Beaver Local. Eisenhart fired her shot into the corner of the net past Edison goalie Jen Sheets to put the Beavers up 1-0. Eisenhart is Beaver Local's leading scorer this season.
Meghan Scott was the second kicker for the Wildcats. The defenders' shot sailed over the goal and bounced off of the crossbar of the football uprights to keep Edison down 1-0.
Sophomore Caylee Cunningham shot third for the Beavers. Cunningham's shot was almost a mirror image of Eisenhart's goal. Cunningham's shot also went into the corner of the goal to put the girls from Columbiana County up 2-0.
Long, Wednesday night's hero, stepped up to the line for the Wildcats. Long's shot was on goal, but Beaver Local goalie Maranda Kiddey made the save keeping her team up 2-0.
Mesler was shooter No. 4 for the Beavers. Her shot sailed over the goal keeping the score 2-0.
"It was stressful, but exciting," Mesler said about taking part in the shootout.
Senior MaryAnne Reed stepped up to the line for Edison. The defender fired her shot into the corner of the net cutting the Wildcats' deficit to 2-1.
Sophomore Haley Tomlinson stepped to the line with a chance to ice the game for the Beavers. Tomlinson's shot was on goal, but Sheets made the save keeping the score at 2-1.
The save kept the Wildcats in the game, and a goal on their fifth shot would allow the girls from Jefferson County to extend the game to the next round of PK's. The pressure was on, but Edison's (No.1) ripped her shot wide of the goal to end the game and to send Beaver Local on to the district final.
"I wish Beaver Local good luck in the district final," Angelo said. "I knew it was going to be a battle. I knew it was going to be close. I knew it wasn't going to be 5-0 game or anything like that."
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first. Kaylynn Drabick raced down a through ball, and she lofted a shot over Kiddey's head and into the goal to give Edison a 1-0 lead with 25:35 left to play in the first half.
The Wildcats had a golden opportunity to add to their lead just about 10 minutes later.
Bube hauled in another through ball, and she broke in on a 1-on-1 breakaway against Kiddey. The junior goalie came out and she was able to knock the ball away keeping the score 1-0.
"Their goalie made a good play on that," Angelo said. "Bethanie dribbled in, and she came out and was able to make the save.
"We had some chances. We just didn't convert. That is nothing new. We have had trouble scoring all year.
"We planned for PK's. We worked on PK's. We played for 110 minutes. I think there were some tired legs and some tired minds. They didn't get over the ball. They leaned back."
In the end, Edison held the lead for less than 20 minutes.
Beaver Local stepped up its level of pressure in an attempt to score the equalizer before halftime. The Beavers had possession of the ball deep on the Wildcats' side of the field. The ball squirted free inside the penalty box, and an Edison defender attempted to clear the ball out of harm's way.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the ball ended up going straight to Eisenhart, who was standing in the middle of the box. Eisenhart quickly fired a shot past Sheets to even the score at 1 with 6:18 left to play in the first half.